Draw against Waterford leaves Galway facing a relegation play-off against Cork

Brian O'Halloran, Waterford, in action against John Hanbury, Galway. Allianz Hurling League, Division 1A, Round 5, Waterford v Galway, Walsh Park, Waterford. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Galway 1-21 Waterford 0-24

By Eoghan Cormican

A massive Gavin O’Brien point two minutes into injury time earned Waterford a share of the spoils in this entertaining Division 1 encounter.

The final result, coupled with Tipperary’s victory over Cork in Thurles, means Galway have failed to avoid a relegation play-off and will square off against the Rebels in a fortnight to see which team drops down to Division 1B. Waterford, meanwhile, finish the round-robin phase second in the table, leap-frogging Dublin who were well beaten by Kilkenny.

The home outfit were the more dominant side in the first-half and, indeed, played the smarter hurling, but yet found themselves behind at the break. Cathal Mannion and David Burke put through Niall Burke for a Galway goal on 33 minutes, nudging the visitors 1-10 to 0-12 in front – the first time Galway led in the game.

Michéal Donoghue’s charges have been prone to slow starts this spring and this final group game proved no different, Galway 0-7 to 0-3 in arrears by the end of the first quarter. Points from Tom Devine, the excellent Shane Bennett (0-2), Colm Roche, Brian O’Halloran and two Shanahan frees cemented a solid opening from Derek McGrath’s side who cleaned their opponents out under the high ball.

Shanahan (0-3 frees), Bennett and O’Halloran maintained Waterford’s scoreboard advantage, but the gap had been closed by virtue of a couple of decent Canning strikes and two from the stick of Eanna Burke before Niall Burke’s goal arrived approaching the break.

Waterford were again quicker out of the blocks on the resumption, hitting six of the first eight scores tallied; Shanahan (0-2), Bennett (0-2), Tommy Ryan and O’Halloran on the mark to steer the Déise 0-18 to 1-12 in front.

It was an advantage they held until Galway roused themselves for another big finish, four points on the hop from Cathal Mannion (0-2), David Burke and Conor Whelan between the 65th and 68th minute turning the tide.

Waterford, though, were successful with their last roll of the dice.

Scorers for Galway: N Burke (1-3); J Canning (0-6, 0-4 frees); D Burke, E Burke, D Glennon, C Mannion, C Whelan (0-2); J Flynn, A Harte (0-1 each).

Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan (0-9, 0-8 frees); S Bennett (0-6); B O’Halloran (0-3); M Kearney (0-2); C Roche, T Devine, G O’Brien, T Ryan (0-1 each).

Galway: J Skehill; F Moore, J Hanbury, P Hoban; A Tuohy, D Burke, D Collins; A Harte, D Glennon; J Flynn, N Burke, J Canning; E Burke, A Smith, C Mannion.

Subs: R Burke for P Hoban (45 mins), C Whelan for A Smith (46), R Cummins for E Burke (57)

Waterford: I O’Regan; S Roche, S McNulty, C Gleeson; K Moran, T de Burca, G O’Brien; A Gleeson, S O’Sullivan; M Shanahan, T Devine, S Bennett; B O’Halloran, T Ryan, C Roche.

Subs: M Kearney for Gleeson (48 mins, inj), J Dillon for C Roche (55), Philip Mahony for O’Sullivan (61), S Moloney for J Flynn (66), Pauric Mahony for Ryan (68)

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

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