Tribe have tools to tackle Kerry

Galway 4-17 Tipperary 4-12

Tribe have tools to tackle Kerry

Penning their final Tweet of Saturday evening, Galway GAA’s official account confirmed the above scoreline with a clever addendum in brackets — ‘in football!’

You could see where they were coming from.

Quite aside from the fact that the two counties met in the hurling Championship, the scoreline resembled something we’re more likely to see on an evening in Thurles than Tullamore.

Galway manager Alan Muholland continued the hurling theme when he pointed out that losing to Tipp twice this summer would have been too much for the county.

Exactly how far Galway can go from here though is the great debate now. They will face Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-finals next Sunday, ironically enough the side they faced in 2008 when they last reached this stage.

If that is a positive piseog from Kerry’s perspective, superstitious Kingdom supporters won’t be happy to hear that when Galway last advanced from a final round qualifier they won the All-Ireland outright, in 2001.

This Galway team isn’t in the same sort of class as that side which contained icons like Ja Fallon, Pádraic Joyce and Michael Donnellan.

But Saturday proved they have the firepower to at least test most teams.

All of their attacking talents came together in an astonishing few minutes either side of half-time at O’Connor Park when they racked up four goals.

It moved them from level terms after 30 minutes to 14 points clear after 44 minutes.

After that, even four goals from Tipp wasn’t enough to save the game.

“Once you’re in a quarter-final you want to get a step further,” said Mulholland. “It’s important we put in a good performance now against Kerry because getting to a quarter-final isn’t good enough.

“We have a big mountain to climb against Kerry but we’re aiming to put in a strong performance to maintain the positive feeling that is around the camp.

“I won’t say we’re going to beat them but, look, you have to believe. You always have to believe. I believed we could beat Mayo in the Connacht final as well.

“If things had gone a bit differently in that game, it might have been a different result.

“But what we’ll really be working on is the stuff that we did poorly against Mayo and the stuff we did poorly again this time.

“We’ll be trying to rectify all of that and trying to put in a proper, good performance to maintain the positive feeling that we’ve built up.”

Tipp were chasing Championship history to cap a great season that saw them pick off Longford and Laois in the qualifiers following promotion in the league.

But their hopes of a first All-Ireland quarter-final were dashed in those few frenetic minutes either side of the break.

They didn’t help themselves because the game was level at 0-6 apiece after half an hour when Tipp should have been at least three clear.

Then a controversial call went against them as referee Barry Cassidy waved play on after Barry Grogan went to ground while attacking.

Galway swept clear and fashioned their first goal which opened the floodgates.

Somehow, Tipp were 2-7 to 0-7 down at half-time and when they fell 14 behind early in the second-half it was lights out. They will reflect that conceding eight goals in two games — they leaked 4-9 to Laois in Round 3 — was their downfall.

Still, they finished out the game with enough vigour to give players confidence that they can push on in 2015. They booted three goals between the 47th and 51st minutes and Conor Sweeney hit their fourth from a penalty in injury-time. Galway will spend this week focusing on how their defence leaked all those scores. Against a Kerry side that took Cork apart, it simply won’t do.

Defenders Finian Hanley and Gareth Bradshaw are experienced performers at least and, along with Paul Conroy, the trio remain from the side that face Kerry in 2008.

In fairness to Galway, they had little experience of 14-point leads to draw upon and naturally retreated in the last half hour. That situation is unlikely to arise on Sunday.

They will demand repeat performances from Shane Walsh and Michael Martin. They kicked eight points between them but did their best work in general play and can cause Kerry trouble.

Scorers for Galway: S Walsh (0-5, two frees), D Cummins and M Lundy (1-1 each), P Conroy and M Martin (0-3 each), F O Curraoin and T Flynn (1-0 each), S Armstrong (0-2), P Varley and D Comer (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney (1-4, one pen, four frees), C O’Riordan (1-2), B Fox and B Mulvihill (1-0 each), P Acheson (0-2), S O’Brien, G Hannigan, M Quinlivan and B Grogan (0-1 each).

Subs for Galway: D Burke for O’Donnell (33), S Armstrong for Cummins (51), A Varley for Martin (56), J O’Brien for Lundy (58), D Comer for Kavanagh (58), E Hoare for Walsh (69).

Subs for Tipperary: I Fahey for Mulhair (32), C Kennedy for Quinlivan (43), A Campbell for Grogan (50), H Coghlan for O’Brien (54), B Mulvihill for Fahey (61), S Flynn for Austin (63).

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).

Galway: T Healy; D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Moore; G Bradshaw, G O’Donnell, P Varley; F O Curraoin, T Flynn; M Lundy, S Walsh, J Kavanagh; M Martin, P Conroy, D Cummins. Tipperary: P Fitzgerald; C McDonald, J Coghlan, P Codd; C O’Riordan, R Kiely, G Mulhair; S O’Brien, G Hannigan; M Quinlivan, B Fox, P Acheson; C Sweeney, B Grogan, P Austin.

Game-changer

In the space of 14 minutes, Galway went from level pegging to 14 points clear. It was some turnaround, particularly because Tipp really should have been leading after half an hour. When those four goals came in a row for Galway, it was lights out.

Talk of the town

Tipp fans were furious Barry Grogan wasn’t awarded a free in the build-up to Galway’s first goal. His solo run was halted by a number of Galway defenders and he went to ground though referee Barry Cassidy appeared to believe Grogan was ‘charging’. It was a big call because the game turned violently against Tipp from the resulting Galway goal.

Did that just happen?

It’s the second game running Tipp have leaked four goals. But goals are a rarity for Galway, who didn’t score a single one in the Connacht final or semi-final.

Best on show

Michael Martin (Galway). Those who grabbed the majors will probably also grab the headlines. But corner-forward Martin was a vital cog in Galway’s well oiled attack.

Black card watch

Tipp’s Steven O’Brien was the only player shown the black card. It was the right call though he could easily have been joined by colleague Brian Fox.

Sideline superior

It was more by accident than design that Galway led by six at half-time. They’d benefited from Tipp’s wasteful play and a controversial refereeing call for the opening goal. Still, Alan Mulholland set his team up in orthodox fashion and they generally delivered. There was little Peter Creedon could do about Tipp’s costly misses in the first-half.

The man in black

Barry Cassidy made a big call to wave play on in the build up to the first goal. Derry man Cassidy let the game flow otherwise.

What’s next?

Galway will face Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday. Tipperary’s season is over.

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