Courageous Rebels stick to their guns

Galway 2-12 Cork 2-12
A second Division 1A draw on the road for Cork but once again they will be wondering what might have been.

Four points down with 16 minutes to go against a Galway team blessed with a bracing wind, they may have folded but instead took the initiative, with substitute Cian McCarthy playing no small part in the comeback.

After Stephen Moylan had narrowed the deficit to three, McCarthy delivered a long ball into Paudie O’Sullivan to squeeze the ball under Colm Callanan in the 60th minute and level the game for a sixth time.

Facing the stiff breeze, they looked composed and balanced yet only two scores were to follow in the remaining 12 minutes of play, with Joe Canning and Cian McCarthy exchanging frees.

Neither side truly capitalised on the wind advantage and Cork, despite going into the break 1-7 to 1-6 ahead, amassed 10 first-half wides.

Galway themselves posted seven when they had the best of the conditions in the second half but Cork’s profligacy was worse with some head-scratching pot shots at the posts.

“We had 17 shots on goal in the first half with 10 wides which was a poor return,” acknowledged Cork selector Kieran Kingston. “Some of them were ridiculous, not being too critical, they were shots that shouldn’t have been taken on in that wind.”

A Davy Glennon goal in the 21st minute, when he was put through by an expert Canning pass, put Galway ahead for the third time in the game, after a couple of excellent Canning points early on.

The home team didn’t go behind until a minute before half time when Fergal Moore was whistled for a penalty after a foul on Luke O’Farrell. Anthony Nash might have taken some liberty with the distance he got on rolling up the ball but his strike was too hot for Callanan’s hurley and found the net to give Cork a somewhat flattering half-time advantage.

A top-drawer Canning sideline opened up the scoring proceedings in the second half but Cork moved ahead again with Conor Lehane and Lorcan McLoughlin scores.

It wasn’t until the 47th minute that Galway squared the game up with a Cyril Donnellan point.

Donnellan was one of just three Galway scorers, which will be a concern for Anthony Cunningham.

“There was quite a few frees as well,” he said of six of Canning’s 10 points. “We will have the Thomas’ guys back to throw a bit of an injection into it [against Waterford] next week.”

Donnellan’s 51st-minute goal put Galway four ahead, 2-10 to 1-9, after he availed of a Glennon ball into him.

Cork may have thrown their hat at it at that stage but they reduced Galway to just two more points, both from frees, for the remaining 21 minutes with the defence marshalling competently.

“I think we lacked a bit of composure and there was a lack of concentration to finish off the game,” rued Cunningham. “Any team will catch you on that and Cork did.

“They’ll be delighted with their comeback and we’d be disappointed we didn’t finish the game.”

Kingston took heart from the gumption shown, especially by the substitutes they introduced.

“It looked very dodgy with the wind, it was stronger than you’d think,” he said. “From the stand people wouldn’t realise it, but it was a four or five-point wind.

“They showed great character and the changes we made worked well for us. Other days they wouldn’t, but they did today. I thought Cian and the half-forward line won a huge amount of ball in the second half playing into the wind. Winning possession in the air was critical for us.”

William Egan picked up a suspected broken hand but Kingston confirmed Cork will be fielding “our strongest team” against Kilkenny next Sunday after weeks of experimentation.

“It is set up for a super Sunday now, which is great. Kilkenny want the points, we need the points and a win there or getting something out of it would be fantastic for us.”

Scorers for Galway: J Canning 0-10; C Donnellan 1-2; D Glennon 1-0.

Scorers for Cork: P O’Sullivan 1-2; A Nash 1-0 (pen); L McLoughlin 0-3; C McCarthy 0-2 (2f); P Cronin, W Egan, L O’Farrell, C Lehane and S Moylan 0-1 each.

Subs for Galway: T Haran for Glennon (66); B Flaherty for Smyth (68).

Subs for Cork: C McCarthy for Harnedy (ht); M Cussen for Horgan (45); S Moylan for Mannix (53); B Hartnett for Lehane (62); S White for Egan (65, inj).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).


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