The westerners shrugged off recent disappointments to show their clinical side in their dismissal of Tipperary yesterday, striking three goals before half-time. They took that as a buffer to the final whistle and though Tipperary ended the game within a goal of their opponents, improbably, their own manager Eamon O’Shea said it wasn’t a fair reflection of the proceedings.
Galway faded towards the end, though they were a man short, but the real question is why the crisp interplay and accuracy seen yesterday hasn’t been on show earlier in the league.
There were plenty of examples of the above: Niall Healy had three points on the board on seven minutes and he added a wickedly-struck goal on 20 minutes.
Jonathan Glynn won a penalty which Conor Cooney buried for another goal six minutes later and five minutes before the break Glynn meandered from the 21 to the small square before lifting the ball over Tipp keeper Darren Gleeson. It was 3-8 to 0-9 in Galway’s favour at the break, and Tipp had Seamus Callanan’s accuracy to thank for keeping them in the game.
Tipperary left Pearse Stadium with much to ponder, and Glynn’s goal typified their problems.
Tentative in many areas, their defence allowed Glynn to travel a long way without meeting a meaningful challenge: Tipp full-back Paddy Stapleton was isolated on Glynn from the start and never got to grips with the Galwayman.
Further outfield extra maroon jerseys stifled the Tipp midfielders, and starting No 9 James Woodlock was withdrawn just after 20 minutes.
Eoin Kelly was introduced before the break in an effort to spark the attack.
A stiff wind aided Galway in the first half, but they were as impressive against the breeze, hitting three points (and three wides) in the five minutes after the break.
Callanan kept Tipperary in touch, and when Iarla Tannian got a second yellow and left the pitch 10 minutes from time, his team-mates came under more pressure. Callanan’s late 21m free found the net, giving Galway supporters a frisson as the game ticked into injury-time, but they held out for a deserved victory.
Tipp manager Eamon O’Shea didn’t varnish the truth.
He said: “We had a very poor first half, probably found our team better in the second half, but that performance isn’t good enough.
“I thought we had a very good period in the second half, I thought we tried really hard, but the first half put us away. The three goals put us away.
“We improved a little bit in the second half, which was a little bit of a positive, but I’m not trying to put a gloss on it, lads.
“I’d be very disappointed with that performance.”
O’Shea’s charges were uncharacteristically indecisive in both their tackling and handling — this observer has rarely seen a Tipperary team spill the ball so often under no pressure — and their game next weekend against Dublin takes on huge significance now as they seek a platform for the championship.
Galway have a taller order next week against Clare, and their boss acknowledged as much.
“It’s onwards and upwards for us,” said Anthony Cunningham.
“We’ll have to compete better in the last 20 minutes if we are to be contenders for the championship which we intend to be.
“The three first-half goals were very important — they were all well-worked goals too.
“The extra man gave Tipperary an advantage in the last 10 minutes — they pulled the extra man back and crowded us out.
“We didn’t come to term with that as smartly as we should have.
“We had a lot of young lads out there — they’re all learning and will benefit from a game like this. We’re happy but still not qualified — everyone is still there with a threat of relegation too.”
Those with an eye to tactics will find much to interest them in the stationing of Jonathan Glynn at full-forward by Galway yesterday. The big Adrahan man gave his team-mates a focal point for their clearances, won a penalty and scored a goal.
It may give Anthony Cunningham and his selectors some freedom when it comes to positioning Joe Canning when he returns from club duty: the kind of problem any manager would be delighted to have.
Scorers for Galway: C Cooney (1 pen, 3f), N Healy 1-3 each, J Glynn 1-1, D Burke (1 s/l), P Brehony 0-3 each, J Coen, I Tannian, C Mannion 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: S Callanan 1-11 (1-8f, 1 65), J O’Dwyer, K Bergin and S McGrath 0-2 each, N McGrath and M Heffernan 0-1 each.
GALWAY: C Callanan; F Moore, R Burke, D Collins; Daithi Burke, I Tannian, A Harte; J Coen, P Brehony; C Mannion, C Cooney, G McInerney; N Healy, J Glynn, David Burke.
Subs for Galway: N Burke for McInerney (42), J Flynn for C Mannion (55), D Glennon for N Healy (67), P Killeen for A Harte (70).
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; C Barrett, P Stapleton, M Cahill; S McGrath, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher (c), J Woodlock; C Kenny, J O’Dwyer, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, S Callanan, M Heffernan.
Subs for Tipperary: K Bergin for Woodlock (23), E Kelly for C Kenny (32), D Maher for N McGrath (h-t), C O’Brien for M Heffernan (45), P Murphy for M Cahill (60).
Referee: A Stapleton (Laois)