Two goals in the space of a 90 seconds helped Tipperary defeat Galway 2-19 to 2-18 in an entertaining All-Ireland SHC semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday.
Inside the first minute Joe Canning pointed from play. However, that was soon cancelled out by a point from Noel McGrath. It was a frantic start to the game as both sides battled for every ball. Michael Breen who has been influential in midfield for the Premier County fired over a point from midfield. On the resulting puck out Galway won possession and worked the ball to Conor Whelan who scored his first from play.
Tipperary were on top in midfield, but Daithi Burke and Johnny Coen grew more into the game as time went on. Coen set up Conor Cooney for the game’s opening goal on 6 minutes when Cooney fired past Darren Gleeson in the Tipperary goal. Tipperary hit the next two scores as Callanan opened his account from a free, while Breen added his second point from play. A fine score by Brendan Maher left the score 1-03 to 0-05 after 10 minutes as Tipperary began to dominate. Following Maher’s point, Tipperary pointed the next four scores. Callanan pointed two frees, while brothers Noel and John McGrath tapped over a point each. The scores read 0-09 to 1-03 after 14 minutes.
Galway realised they were in a battle and as Burke and Coen continued to dominate in midfield they went on a scoring spree. Canning hit three unanswered points, then David Burke scored a huge effort from the middle of the field. Joseph Cooney added another point before Canning pointed another free to leave it 1-09 to 0-09 after 30 minutes. Tipperary went 16 minutes without scoring, but a Seamus Callanan point ended the rot. Galway then had a chance for another goal as Conor Cooney looked to double his goal tally for the day. However, Tipp wing back Paidi Maher made a superb hook when it looked like all was lost. The danger was averted and Tipperary went up the field to score another pointed free from Callanan, Jason Flynn responded for Galway with a well taken point to bring the half to an end. Joe Canning who played well in the first half didn’t re-appear for the second half as it looked like the Portumna pulled his hamstring.
On the resumption, two pointed frees from Callanan had Tipperary on level terms. Jason Flynn responded for Galway with his second point, but Breen’s third score for Tipperary edged the Premier back in front by the minimum. Callanan pointed a 65 soon after, but this was cancelled out by Conor Cooney. Galway then scored another courtesy of a poor play in the Tipperary defence. Seamus Kennedy misplaced his pass with Joseph Cooney intercepting, before running through to slot the ball past Darren Gleeson. Callanan (free), Noel McGrath and Ronan Maher all pointed to draw the side’s level again 2-12 to 0-18. Conor Cooney pointed a free to see Galway get their noses back in front again and Conor Whelan stretched the lead soon after. However, wing back Paidi Maher scored a fine long range point for Tipp to bring the scores back to 2-14 to 0-19 , however once again Conor Cooney pointed a free for Galway to make it a two point game going in the final 10 minutes.
Tipperary then stepped up the pace. They got two goals in the space of 90 seconds. The first goal coming from John O’Dwyer a second half substitute. It was a great finish by ‘Bubbles’ as he was literally on the end line, but still the Killenaule man squeezed it through. From the puck out, Conor Cooney pointed a free, but then John McGrath delivered a fine goal. Callanan set him up with an exquisite hand pass and McGrath fired to the net. Tipperary were 2-19 to 2-16 ahead. Galway didn’t give up though. Conor Cooney pointed another free, while Shane Maloney pointed from play.
However, there was no time left for Galway to salvage a point that would have forced a replay and referee Barry Kelly blew his whistle to bring the curtain down on a great game. Tipperary progress to a 4th of September All Ireland Hurling Final meeting with Kilkenny.
Tipperary: D Gleeson; C Barrett, J Barry, M Cahill; S Kennedy, R Maher (0-01), Pádraic Maher (0-01); B Maher (0-01), M Breen (0-03); D McCormack, Patrick Maher, N McGrath (0-03); J McGrath (1-01), S Callanan (0-09, 8f, 1 65), N O’Meara.
Subs: J O’Dwyer (1-00) for O’Meara (45), J Forde for N McGrath (57), S Curran for Breen (68), T Hamill for Kennedy (70+2).
Galway: C Callanan; A Harte, Daithí Burke, J Hanbury; A Tuohy, P Mannion, G McInerney; David Burke (0-01), J Coen; C Mannion, J Cooney (1-01), J Canning (0-05, 3f, 1 65); J Flynn (0-02), C Whelan (0-02), C Cooney (1-06, 0-04f).
Subs: A Smith for Tuohy (h.t.), C Donnellan for Canning (h.t.), S Moloney (0-01) for Whelan (66), N Burke for C Mannion (66), D Collins for Harte (68).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)