By John Fogarty
Galway 2-17 Clare 0-17
Galway’s first-half dominance was the making of this quarter-final win as they sealed a second successive All-Ireland semi-final date with Tipperary.
Joe Canning was flawless from eight placed balls and his goal within seconds of the resumption of play gave Galway a foothold they never looked like losing against a Clare side that rarely threatened Colm Callanan’s goal.
The closest Clare got was four points on the hour mark but scores from Cathal Mannion and Canning gave Galway the necessary cushion to see out the win as the team then exchanged a brace of scores.
John Conlon and Tony Kelly had half-goal chances in the dying stages but Galway coped admirably.
The resilience of Daithí Burke, Aidan Harte and Johnny Hanbury played such an integral part in this Galway victory as they protected the parallelogram with zeal.
Their work was evident in the half-time lead, curbing Clare to six points as opposed to their side’s 1-10 tally.
Clare opened the first-half scoring when Kelly punished a foul on Aaron Shanagher but wind-assisted Galway settled quickest with the next three points.
Joseph Cooney’s first point, Galway’s second, came as a result of Galway forcing Clare to go long on their puck-out, a constant problem for Clare in the opening half.
Clare were back on level terms by the 10th minute but a Canning free was followed by Conor Cooney’s goal, beating Andrew Fahy on his near side after Canning had found him from Galway gathering another Clare puck-out.
Kelly may have had 1-1 in the space of two minutes but for missing an easy free then being brilliantly hooked as he was about to unload on Callanan’s net from close range.
Let off, Galway fired over another from David Burke, which pushed them into a six-point lead.
A Kelly free ended 13 minutes without a Clare score but Canning flew over the next three points, all from placed balls.
Some skill from Kelly provided him with his first point from play in injury time but Clare had it all to do eight points down.
Scorers for Galway: J. Canning (1-8, 0-6 frees, 2 65s); C. Cooney (1-0); J. Cooney, David Burke (0-2 each); J. Coen, P. Mannion, C. Donnellan, C. Mannion, A. Harte (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: T. Kelly (0-7, 6 frees); C. Galvin (0-5); C. McGrath, C. Ryan (frees) (0-2 each); D. McInerney (0-1).
GALWAY: C. Callanan; Daithí Burke, J. Hanbury; A. Harte; A. Tuohy, P. Mannion, G. McInerney; J. Coen, David Burke (c); J. Flynn, J. Canning, C. Cooney; C. Mannion, J. Cooney, C. Whelan.
Subs for Galway: C. Donnellan for C. Cooney (47); D. Glennon for J. Flynn (53); F. Moore for J. Coen (60); A. Smith for C. Whelan (67); S. Maloney for J. Cooney (70+3).
CLARE: A. Fahy; O. O’Brien, D. McInerney, P. O’Connor; C. Dillon (jc); B. Bugler, C. Cleary, J. Browne; C. Galvin, D. Reidy; J. Conlon, T. Kelly (jc), P. Collins; S. O’Donnell, A. Shanagher.
Subs for Clare: D. Fitzgerald for B. Bugler (41); C. McGrath for P. Collins (49); A. Cunningham for A. Shanagher (52); C. Ryan for D. Reidy (54).
Referee: B. Gavin (Offaly).