Galway’s Tenacity Secures Semifinal Clash with Limerick
Galway exhibited their unwavering determination as they carved out a piece of history with a third consecutive Championship victory over Tipperary, setting up an enthralling rematch with Limerick in the semifinals.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) June 24, 2023
Despite blazing 18 wides and having three goal attempts saved by Rhys Shelly, Galway held their ground against Tipperary from the early stages. Conor Whelan shone brightly, contributing 1-4 and posing a constant threat to the opposition.
Liam Cahill’s team mirrored their lackluster first-half performance from their previous match against Waterford, as their starting full-forward line failed to register a single score. Although John McGrath’s goal brought them within a point, their Championship hopes seemed dim, failing to ignite in front of the 34,180 fans at the Gaelic Grounds.
Tipperary were fortunate to be only three points behind at halftime. Galway’s execution also suffered from inconsistencies.
Initially, Tipp assigned Dan McCormack to mark Whelan, while Cathal Barrett took on Brian Concannon. However, they swapped roles as Whelan managed to evade both defenders, creating back-to-back goal opportunities.
Meanwhile, Galway deployed Seán Linnane to shadow Noel McGrath throughout the match. Although Tipp’s captain attempted three early shots, their failure to adjust to the wind resulted in each attempt drifting wide.
Both teams shared the first 12 scores, but Galway began sensing that Tipperary was vulnerable.
Séamus Callanan seized on a giveaway puck-out, but his goal attempt was thwarted by a superb block from Gearóid McInerney. From that point on, all the goal chances belonged to Galway.
Whelan slipped past the defense twice, once forcing a remarkable save from Shelly. However, Galway settled for an Evan Niland pointed free on the subsequent play.
Galway then embarked on a four-point spree, with two points apiece from Niland and Whelan. Shelly once again came to Tipp’s rescue, deflecting Whelan’s effort over the bar with his trailing leg.
Barrett’s crucial sliding tackle denied Whelan a clear shot at goal, preserving Tipp’s hopes.
A Jason Forde free kick reduced the deficit to just three points, with the scoreline reading 0-10 to 0-7.
However, Cahill’s halftime team talk was rendered futile when Tipp conceded a goal immediately after the throw-in. Barrett slipped, allowing Whelan to take advantage and dispatch his seventh goal of the Championship campaign, leaving Tipp trailing.
Tipp introduced Michael Breen as their third defender assigned to contain Whelan. Gearóid O’Connor and Conor Bowe were also brought on, replacing Mark Kehoe and Callanan, as Tipp sought to close the gap against Galway.
O’Connor and Alan Tynan notched points, with the latter producing a testing shot across Galway’s goal from a tight angle.
Yet, when Cianan Fahy, Daithí Burke, and Whelan combined to score four consecutive points, Galway’s lead extended to eight.
Tipp responded valiantly with four points of their own, courtesy of Forde (0-2), Ronan Maher, and Johnny Ryan, demonstrating their determination to mount a comeback.
Remarkably, Tipp reduced the deficit to just one point on the 62nd minute. Bowe delivered the ball behind Galway’s defense, and although Forde failed to connect, John McGrath emphatically struck a groundstroke to the roof of the net.
Tom Monaghan emerged from the bench to register two vital points. Séamus Kennedy retaliated with two points of his own.
Galway could have sealed the victory when Tipp’s defensive play led to a risky situation, but Shelly came to the rescue once again with a sprawling save from Fahy’s shot.
In the closing stages of the game, it seemed as if Niland went unnoticed by the Tipp defense. He capitalized on a well-placed ball down the right wing, securing a point and narrowly missing another. He won a free kick, which he confidently converted himself, and even set up Monaghan for his third point of the match, ultimately sealing Galway’s triumph.
Now, with Limerick eagerly awaiting their arrival, Galway’s tenacity and resilience will be put to the test once again in the upcoming semifinal clash. The stage is set for a thrilling encounter as these two formidable teams lock horns to secure a spot in the All-Ireland Hurling Championship final.
Throw in for Galway v Limerick is 6pm next Saturday