The bookies had written them off and had closed the book on the game, the supporters had started to trudge out of the gates and not even the most fervent optimist would have expected Galway to come back from ten points down against Kilkenny with a little over five minutes to go.
Yet Anthony Cunningham felt that his team were never out of the running in today’s meeting with Kilkenny at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
"We were thrown a lifeline and we took it, so it's all systems go for next weekend again. In championship hurling, you have to keep plugging away; if you go down three or six or even nine points, at the pace games are at now, there's always a chance to get back."
“Once we got one we knew that there was a chance of more. Then we got in for the second, leaving just a goal in it and in championship, in that situation, anything can happen.”
It seemed like anything that could happen, did happen, in this rollercoaster journey for the 12,548 spectators in attendance. When Henry Shefflin picked off his point from right out on the left hand touchline, it looked as if heartbreak was in store for the Tribesmen after their miraculous resurrection from ten behind.
Yet Joe Canning had a chance to salvage the tie and for Cunningham, there was no-one he’d rather have seen with the sliothar in his hand and the game on the line.
“I thought Johnny would have blown it up after the penalty went in, then Henry got a super score in the corner and Joe equalled him. He knew it was the last puck of the game, out in the corner, but you’d put your house on him, he’s a fantastic forward.”
Having escaped from the jaws of death today, Cunningham is hopeful that his side will have momentum on their side for the replay next week, though he was careful to point out that his side will need to deliver the goods again if this comeback is to mean anything.
“We’ll go in with huge confidence after today, but Kilkenny are hard to beat in a replay and it’s make or break now. Every time you play Kilkenny you learn and we’ll certainly have to do that. We’re extremely happy to be still in it, but it means nothing if we don’t win next weekend.”