How fired-up Galway proved an irresistible force

The intensity of Galway’s performance in Croke Park on Sunday was evident throughout their one-point victory over Tipperary.

How fired-up Galway proved an irresistible force

The stats underline that impression.

Tipperary had more possession and also won more puck-outs, yet it was Galway’s ferocious work rate that won the day. Galway’s collective Hook/Block/Tackle count was 82 which was seven more than even Kilkenny managed in their win over Waterford the previous Sunday.

That work-rate saw Tipperary turn over the ball on 18 occasions, double Galway’s turnover count on the day. More importantly, 10 Galway scores accrued directly from these turnovers including two extremely important points late in the game by Colin Whelan and Cathal Mannion.

Galway’s tackling and discipline was also superb. They conceded just eight frees in total, compared to Tipp’s 13. In a game of such tight margins, this proved crucial. Tipperary never really got to the pitch of the game in that regard.

Their tackle count of 56 was low and it’s that inconsistency of performance that has bedevilled the Premier County throughout Eamon O’Shea’s tenure.

Tipperary had 77 tackles in their Munster Final win over Waterford. Galway, in contrast, improved on their tackle rate of 76 against Cork in the All Ireland quarter-final.

Galway created 42 scoring chances on Sunday and their shot conversion ratio was 63%. Worryingly for Anthony Cunningham, for the second game in a row Joe Canning squandered eight scoring chances. You’d expect a repeat of this performance will not be good enough in an All-Ireland final against Kilkenny.

Despite the thrilling nature of this victory and Galway’s obvious intensity, Anthony Cunningham will have plenty to ponder ahead of the Leinster final rematch.

Galway only managed to win 11/27 of their own puck-outs, which is extremely poor by modern standards. They also conceded three goals and were it not for the heroics of Colm Callanan Tipperary could have scored even more.

However, David Burke produced a performance that was statistically superb. The St Thomas’ man topped the individual possession stats with 19, and his tally of five assists was the most in the game. He topped Galway’s possession won from puck-outs and was in the top three in Galway’s tackle count tally with nine.

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