Galway serve notice with huge victory over outplayed UCD

It’s hard to know what was more impressive – the ruthless exhibition dished out by Galway to the students on the pitch or the marker put down by new Tribe boss Anthony Cunningham afterwards.

You’d have thought that after playing in horrific conditions on an energy sapping astro turf and landing a 32-point win that Galway would have been happy to head for home.

But no. Once the final whistle sounded Anthony Cunningham and his coaches Tom Helebert and Mattie Kenny marched the Galway players onto a back pitch where they spent 15 minutes doing 100m sprints.

This was a rain-soaked day in January against disappointing opposition. But there were still tell tale signs that an interesting regime change has happened in Galway hurling.

It’s doubtful if Joe Canning and Iarla Tannian have ever looked as lean and hungry as they do right now. Canning played the first half and grabbed 1-6 as the Tribe rattled in 4-16 in the first 35 minutes against the shell shocked students. Tannian had a hand in plenty too, and also bagged 1-2.

Conor Cooney from St Thomas’s impressed scoring 2-6 while wing back Paul Huban also caught the eye in a hugely convincing display.

Tipp star Noel McGrath and Kilkenny man Cathal Kenny tried hard for UCD.

But it says a lot that their best player was their keeper Jamie Ryan, who is also on the Galway senior panel after winning an U21 medal with Cunningham last year and he made four magnificent saves.

But this was all about Galway and it will be interesting to see them try to build on this perfect opening.

Scorers for Galway: C Cooney 2-6 (2 65s), J Canning 1-6 (2 65s), D Hayes 1-3, I Tannian 1-2, J Regan 0-4, D Burke 1-0, A Smith 0-2, C Donnellan, J Coen 0-1 each.

Scorers for UCD: C Kenny 0-4, N McGrath 1-1, C Allis 0-2, K O’Loughlin 0-1.

GALWAY: J Skehill; D Connolly, D Collins, F Moore; B Flaherty, T Og Regan, P Huban; A Smith, C Donnellan; D Burke, I Tannian, C Cooney; J Coen, J Canning, D Hayes.

Subs: J Regan for Canning (ht), M Leydon for T Óg Regan (ht), P Shiel for Moore (ht), E Ryan for D Burke (45), D Cooney for Huban (55).

UCD: J Ryan; D Nash, O Gough, J Doughan; J Lyng, D O’Sullivan, S Norton; D Plunkett, C Kenny; D Fox, N McGrath, C Allis; F Clabby, J McMahon, K O’Loughlin.

Subs: J Gilligan for O’Sullivan (40), M McCaffrey for Lyng (50).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).

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