Galway 0-23 Cork 0-14: After capturing their first All-Ireland Intermediate hurling title in 13 years, Saturday night was all about rest and recovery for the Galway hurlers ahead of a Sunday morning training session.
Thus, the senior half of Anthony Cunningham’s developmental squad celebrated briefly, while the U21 panellists had a mere day of grace before returning to the daily grind today.
“That’s the life during the summer, it’s what they want,” reflected Cunningham, a man without time to dwell on this success.
“In the second half, we were very happy with the performance. Look, we use this as a development squad; half of them would be U21s and the other half would be potential seniors, who are coming onto the scene. So we’ve got three lovely matches out of it and the best match today.”
Even Galway captain and senior sub-keeper James Skehill had thoughts of challenges ahead running through his mind while minding the net.
“It’s all about getting match sharp and these kind of matches are used to get yourself up to match pace, because if you are called upon, whether number 16 or 30, you want to be an addition to the team. It’s vital for guys to try to perform in these games with a view to getting it going at senior level.”
It harks back to the adage that success breeds success, and Galway will be stacked with confidence ahead of their All-Ireland senior and U21 semi-finals in the coming fortnight.
There were standout players all over the field, although Skehill saved a measure of praise for the “senior inter-county level stuff” produced by Barry Keane, who came in at full-back at the break and made two last-ditch blocks to stop Fintan O’Leary grabbing a much-needed Rebel goal.
As if the depth of talent in this squad wasn’t proven enough, it was Dan Nevin, who replaced recent senior debutant Conor Whelan, that made the most immediate impact, with four first-half points.
Galway brought the heat early on but Cork slowly began to acclimatise. Fintan O’Leary and Willie Leahy plundered five points from the left flank as Cork went in at the half level, 0-9 apiece.
Cork, however, could never muster the encouragement of a lead that they needed.
Galway delivered the killer blows between the 44th and 49th minutes as they arrowed over five consecutive points, in which time Barry Keane’s defensive heroics twice stopped O’Leary from goaling.
“We needed to probably get ahead to test them and see how they’d react to it but they tacked on a few scores again,” said Cork manager Ronan Dwane. “They’re training and playing with the seniors all year so they’ve a lot of method to their play.”
Scorers for Galway:
T Haran (4 frees, 1 s/l), D Nevin (0-5 each); D Higgins (0-3); K McHugo, E Burke, S Moloney, E Brannigan, J Kennedy (0-2 each).
Scorers for Cork:
N McNamara (0-4 frees); T Murphy (2 frees), W Leahy, F O’Leary (0-3 each); K O’Neill (0-1).
J Skehill (Cappataggle); C Flynn (Tommy Larkin’s), D O’Donoghue (Kilnadeema-Leitrim), A Tuohy (Beagh); P Flaherty (Abbeyknockmoy), D Burke (St Thomas’s), S Cooney (St Thomas’s); K McHugo (Tommy Larkin’s), D Higgins (Castlegar); E Burke (St Thomas’s), T Haran (Liam Mellows), D Nevin (Cappataggle); B Molloy (Kilnadeema-Leitrim), S Maloney (Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry), E Brannigan (Rahoon-Newcastle).
Subs for Galway:
B Daly (Clarinbridge) for Brannigan (17-20, blood), Barry Keane (Clarinbridge) for O’Donoghue (h-t), J Kennedy (Ardrahan) for E Burke (48), B Daly for McHugo (53), R O’Meara (Portumna) for Brannigan (55), K Lane (Ballindereen) for Higgins (59).
P Buckley (Mallow); G Murphy (Newcestown), T Lawerence (Brian Dillons), B Ó Tuama (Castlemartyr); M Collins (Ballinhassig); E Finn (Ballinhassig), D O’Donovan (Ballinhassig), K Kavanagh (Carrigaline); K O’Neill (Watergrasshill), S McCarthy (Ballinhassig); F O’Leary (Ballinhassig), T Murphy (Carrigaline),W Leahy (Aghada); N McNamara (Kilworth), D O’Driscoll (Carrigtwohill).
Subs for Cork:
P Butler (Argideen Rangers) for Finn (ht), M Brennan (Fermoy) for McCarthy (45), L Meade (Newcestown) for McNamara (46), C O’Brien (St Ita’s) for G Murphy (52), A Cagney (Charleville) for T Murphy (53).
Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).
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