Tipperary 2-20 Galway 2-18
Pa Bourke bagged 1-6 against Galway this afternoon to kick start Tipperary’s National Hurling League season.
The Thurles Sarsfields attacker proved that there can be life after his departed clubmate Lar Corbett with a clinical display.
Bourke hit 1-1 from play, including a blistering second half goal, and five frees as Tipp collected their first victory of the season.
This was a much-improved performance from the Premier County, who were battered by Kilkenny at Nowlan Park in the opening round of matches.
And a hard-fought victory in a match that was level 14 times was achieved against a Galway outfit that showed plenty of promise against Dublin a fortnight before.
With the sides level at 2-18 apiece late on, Johnny Ryan came off the bench to put Tipp ahead with his first touch before classy centre forward Noel McGrath sealed victory from a free.
Tipp just about deserved their victory against the visiting Tribesmen who finished the match with 2-7 from a dangerous full-forward line.
In front of 4951 spectators, Tipp came with the late surge to secure their opening points of the season.
Two more beckon next Sunday when struggling Waterford come to town and suddenly, Tipp could be right back in business with early season silverware already secured in the form of the Waterford Crystal Cup.
So far this year, six-time All-Star and former team captain Eoin Kelly has had to be content with a place on the bench and he lasted less than a minute, coming off with a hamstring twinge having replaced Shane McGrath at half-time.
Shane Bourke, so impressive for UCC in their Fitzgibbon Cup success, took his chance to impress with a hard-working display rewarded by two points from play while in the other corner forward position, John O’Neill clipped over two gems.
Brian O’Meara at full-forward perhaps won his battle with David Collins on points but the star turn in attack was McGrath, who bagged 1-3 and a delicious 42nd minute goal.
At half-time, Galway led by 1-9 to 1-8 following a 35 minutes that saw the teams level six times.
The visitors began in devastating fashion as James Regan planted a shot into the top corner in the third minute to establish a 1-1 to 0-0 lead, just a minute after Skehill did brilliantly to keep out a rasping O’Meara drive.
Tipp were level by the eleventh minute, however, and struck for a goal of their own in the 29th minute as O’Meara somehow kept hold of possession under extreme pressure from Galway defenders before Bourke finished clinically.
Boosted by a second goal, from McGrath, Tipp led by 2-11 to 1-10 in the 42nd minute but a Damien Hayes goal for Galway levelled the tie at 2-11 apiece four minutes later.
Remarkably, the sides were level again five times before Ryan and McGrath scored the late points to secure the win for Tipperary.
Scorers for Tipperary: P Bourke 1-6 (0-5f), N McGrath 1-3 (0-1f), J Woodlock, B Maher, J O’Neill & S Bourke 0-2 each, C O’Mahony (65), B O’Meara & J Ryan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: N Burke 0-7f, D Hayes 1-3, J Regan 1-2, C Cooney 0-3 (1f), B Burke 0-2, B Daly 0-1.
TIPPERARY: B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; J O’Keeffe, C O’Mahony, P Maher; J Woodlock, B Maher; P Bourke (J Ryan 70+1), N McGrath, S McGrath (E Kelly h.t., T Hammersley 38); J O’Neill, B O’Meara, S Bourke.
GALWAY: J Skehill; D Connolly, D Collins, G O’Halloran; J Cooney (J Coen 33), F Moore, N Donoghue (P Gordan 43); D Burke, C Donnellan (A Harte 53); C Cooney, N Burke (E Ryan 65), I Tannian (B Daly 28); D Hayes, J Regan, B Burke.
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).