Galway 4-16 Cork 1-11
THREE games down, four to go including a date with the All-Ireland champions in Nowlan Park in a month’s time and while you have to admire Gerald McCarthy’s replacement squad for the honesty of their effort and their enthusiasm, the outlook for the county is frightening if it reaches the stage where they have to go into battle against Tipperary in the Munster Championship.
The Cork manager didn’t hide his disappointment with this performance in the Allianz National League yesterday and just as predictably, John McIntyre wasn’t over-impressed with the display from Galway — even if it did represent a significant improvement on their twelve points defeat away to Dublin a fortnight ago.
Describing it as ‘a hollow victory’, the Galway boss made it clear that they weren’t looking for any credit for what they did. "I thought we were a bit sluggish. Our lads were a bit under pressure after the Dublin match and it showed. That wouldn’t be near good enough for what’s facing us in Pearse Stadium next Sunday against Kilkenny,’’ he commented.
"I know it’s easier from the sideline looking in at it. Those young Cork players battled honourably and battled hard, (they are) brave young men in very difficult circumstances. But that wouldn’t be good enough from a Galway perspective at all. You should never apologise for winning, but we did not look slick or sharp and made heavy weather of it. To be honest, against better opposition we would have been in trouble today."
Cork’s weaknesses were plain to see for the crowd of about 1,200 — in general inexperience and a real difficulty in coping with the pace of the game, more specifically a glaring weakness up front.
"Overall it was a disappointing performance, no question about that,’’ said McCarthy. "But it doesn’t change anything in terms of the lads’ outlook. They are going to do the very best they can for Cork hurling and that’s all we can ask from them."
Cork didn’t concede the first of four goals until the 12th minute, but they were fortunate that goalkeeper Alan Kennedy was able to recover from two errors in the opening six minutes. Galway were much more comfortable on the ball, winning possession much more easily and helped by a reasonably strong wind. They had 1-4 on the board before Adrian Mannix got the home side’s first score, which came from an opening created by midfielder Glen O’Connor – one of the team’s best performers over the 70 minutes.
The essential difference was that Galway had the ability to score almost at will, from a variety of angles and distances. At the same time, it wasn’t as if they were having things their own way because Cork battled hard in defence, doing best in the full-back line, with Conor O’Sullivan was again prominent in the left corner. And while progress in attack was minimal before they conceded the second goal minutes before the break, there were some positive signs in the probing play of centre-forward Aidan Ryan and, while he got few enough chances of scores, Tadhg Óg Murphy in the right corner was also showing promise. The problem was that he was up against one of Galway’s more established players in Fergal Moore, who with Ger Mahon in front of him, helped to form a strong flank on the left side of the defence. Adrian Cullinane was consistent at midfield and further up, David Tierney, Kevin Hynes and Niall Healy threatened regularly. Ger Farragher’s striking from placed balls was flawless, but in general play he found Chris Murphy difficult to get past.
It was 2-11 to 0-5 at half time and there was little change until about the three-quarters stage when Cork had their best spell. After the skilful Eoghan Cronin put over one of the best scores of the game, Murphy hit two points in quick succession. Galway came back strongly for some well-taken scores, notably goals from Aongus Callanan in the 53rd and 63rd minutes. The biggest cheer of the day greeted Cork’s goal, which was scored — deservedly after shipping a rough tackle – by substitute Stephen White.
Scorers for Galway: A Callinan, 2-1; D Tierney, 1-2; G Farragher, 0-4 (3f, 1‘65); N Healy, 0-4 (1f); C Donnellan, 1-1; K Hynes, A Cullinane, E Forde & A Coen 0-1 each.
Cork: S White 1-0; T Óg Murphy, 0-3; A Mannix (1f), B Johnson (1f), E Cronin, 0-2 each; Tony Murphy, R O’Driscoll 0-1 each.
GALWAY: E Ward; M Ryan, C O’Donovan, F Moore; A Coen, S Kavanagh (capt), G Mahon; A Cullinane, E Forde; C Donnellan, K Hynes, D Tierney; N Healy, G Farragher, A Callanan.
Subs: R Murray for Farragher, 58; J Gantley for Donnellan, 62; F Burke for Forde (yellow card, 67; P Killilea for Tierney, 74.
CORK: A Kennedy; E Keane, C Murphy, C O’Sullivan; J Moran, R Ryan, C Leahy; B Johnson, G O’Connor; A Mannix, A Ryan, D Crowley; T Óg Murphy, M Collins, E Cronin.
Subs: G O’Driscoll for Moran, 26; Tony Murphy for Collins, 37; S White for Johnson, 45; C McCarthy for Crowley, 54; R O’Driscoll for Mannix, 59; A Kearney for Keane, 65 (yellow card).
Referee: G Hoey (Clare).