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.
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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).