Galway overcome Cork

Galway 2-22 Cork 0-24

Galway 2-22 Cork 0-24

Galway dominated the first half of this enthralling NHL Division 1 semi-final to book their place in next Sunday's decider.

Ger Loughnane's side looked formidable at the Gaelic Grounds and led by 2-15 to 0-7 at half-time.

Debutant Joe Canning pointed before he set up a 25th-minute goal for Iarla Tannion and Ger Farragher also netted from a 20-metre free.

With Joe Deane, Pa Cronin and Ronan Curran brought on, Cork whittled the Galway lead down to three points but a late goal eluded them.

Cork's five-match unbeaten run came to an end as Galway, playing some incisive hurling at break-neck speed, made it through to their first league final since 2004.

Winners over Waterford in the final four years ago, the men from the west are beginning to look the part under Loughnane and with the 19-year-old Canning announcing himself at senior level, they are shaping up nicely for the summer.

Canning had a memorable debut as he scored four points, one a spectacular effort from a sideline some 55 yards out, and he also had a major role in Galway's opening goal.

Shane Kavanagh, the young Kinvara starlet, sent a huge clearance down to Canning who superbly hand-passed to Tannion and the corner forward was able to rifle past a helpless Donal Og Cusack.

That goal put Galway 1-10 to 0-5 in the clear and worse followed for Cork when Ger Farragher thundered in a free as Galway swept to a 14-point interval lead and it looked all over.

Both sides had five wides in that one-sided period. 14 points in arrears they might have been but Cork had thoughts of exiting tamely.

With their pride on the line, they picked off the first three points on the resumption with a free by Ben O'Connor and strikes from Paudie O'Sullivan and the excellent Tom Kenny.

Damien Hayes and Niall Healy had Galway points in reply and it seemed the contest might fizzle out.

But with the score-line at 2-18 to 0-11, Cork suddenly hit a purple patch and four points in succession from O'Sullivan and Ben O'Connor (one free and one from play), cut the deficit.

And when John Gardiner, who was moved to midfield, landed a magnificent point from 100 yards it was a major psychological boost for Cork.

That score left only six points between the sides and there was plenty of time for one of the greatest comebacks in the competition, with Curran shoring things up for the Rebels at centre-back.

Farragher and Canning steadied the faltering Galway ship but two points inside a minute by Cronin kept up the Cork momentum, which remained unruffled despite Canning's superb point from a sideline.

Ben O'Connor cut the arrears to two goals again but then came two marvellous stops by t he Galway goalkeeper James Skehill as both Gardiner and Ben O'Connor tried for goals from close range frees.

Cork certainly outplayed Galway in the second half but points from Cronin (0-2) and Gardiner left them just short.

Sean Og O'hAilpin squandered a great chance of a late goal but he hit the side-netting and Galway, thanks to that blistering first half showing, were the team to progress.

GALWAY: J Skehill; F Moore, T Og Regan, C Dervan; A Cullinane (0-1), J Lee, S Kavanagh; K Hynes (0-1), R Murray (0-1); G Farragher (1-5, 1-3f), F Healy, N Healy (0-3); D Hayes (0-4), J Canning (0-4, 0-1sl), I Tannion (1-2).

Subs used: E Lynch (0-1) for Murray (45 mins), D Forde for Cullinane (60), A Kerins for Hynes (62).

CORK: D Og Cusack; S O'Neill, D O'Sullivan, C O'Connor; J Gardiner (0-3, 0-2f), E Cadogan, S Og O'hAilpin; T Kenny (0-3), K Hartnett; B O'Connor (0-8, 0-6f, 0-1sl), N McCarthy, L Desmond; P O'Sullivan (0-4), B Corry, C Naughton (0-2).

Subs used: P Cronin (0-4) for Desmond (29 mins), J Deane for McCarthy, R Curran for Hartnett (both half-time).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.