Galway wonderful, wasteful, Cork woeful

Galway 2-28 Cork 0-22: A second championship double-digit exit for Cork’s hurlers should prompt the most exhaustive of autopsies.

A second championship double-digit exit for Cork’s hurlers should prompt the most exhaustive of autopsies.

At least 11 months ago against Tipperary there were some mitigating factors like a five-week break between a Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final and the momentum their opponents had built up through the qualifiers.

Here there were no excuses because none could be made. Here it wasn’t about systems or structures that let them down but their work-rate and intensity levels which paled so much when put alongside Galway’s.

When Cork couldn’t summon enough spirit in the first half to operate the sweeper tactic they had been honing the previous two games the alarm bells grew louder.

On most other days, Joe Canning’s total of eight wides would have cost Galway. He was guilty of contributing over a third of Galway’s 23 shots which went dead and either side of the posts. But Canning’s erratic striking was almost a badge of honour as the sum he totted up from wides exceeded Cork’s seven.

In front of 33,150, Galway didn’t have to be anything close to brilliant to see off Cork and that’s what should gall players and management the most. They were beaten by a side who gladly made hay as Cork provided them so much time and space. It was no surprise Jimmy Barry-Murphy did away with the use of a sweeper when it was abundantly clear his team had forgotten their lines.

They trailed by four points at the break, 1-15 to 0-14, but, as the Cork manager acknowledged, the scoreboard didn’t tell the whole story.

Apart from the wind advantage they had, Galway hit nine wides as they dominated possession.

“It wasn’t that bad,” he said of the interval margin, “but we were playing very poorly and we’d played with the advantage of the breeze. From that point of view, it wasn’t looking good but we were hoping to make a fight of it.”

For Anthony Cunningham, his Babe Ruth-like prediction of meeting Kilkenny in September lives on and Tipperary will be sitting up after watching this.

Even if over a third of them went a-begging, creating close to 60 scoring chances is a handsome statistic.

“I wouldn’t say it was clinical,” admitted Canning. “I don’t know what the wide count was in the end, 22 (one more)? That’s not clinical. I suppose we’re creating chances but you know there’s huge improvements for the next day.

“It’s the first time we’ve got to August since 2012 and it’s the first time we’ve won a quarter-final since 2005, so it’s bonus territory for us at this stage.”

For Cork, their fine 2013 season never mind last year’s Munster championship will now seem much more a distance memory than Galway’s recollections of bringing Kilkenny to an All-Ireland replay.

Two years ago, they played with flare and endeavour. Yesterday couldn’t have been more divorced from that verve.

The unforced errors would have been particularly difficult to stomach for Barry-Murphy. Cork were pitiful in clearing their lines at times. Mark Ellis was caught out twice in the space of a minute and Galway pointed on each occasion.

Aidan Walsh also struggled to move the ball forward and it was his misplaced pass that precipitated Damien Cahalane’s red card for a second yellow card offence in the 50th minute. Barry-Murphy rued: “Losing a man, obviously, was a setback but when you play you have to hold your hands up and say you just weren’t good enough on the day.”

The unfortunate thing for Cork was their forward line was quite economical with what came their way especially in the first half. Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy were making the ball stick although Cork had to rely a lot on Patrick Horgan’s free-taking to keep up with Galway’s high rate of scoring.

But Galway never lost the lead they earned in the very first minute when a Jonathan Glynn run was unchecked by the Cork defence. He left Walsh and Ellis trailing before popping the ball past Anthony Nash. He didn’t know it at the time but Barry-Murphy said it illustrated Galway’s intent.

“It set the standard for the whole game, it was a very soft goal to give away and playing with the wind behind us . . . it set the tone for the entire game and we seemed to be second to the ball on most occasions.”

Cork in that first half didn’t trouble Colm Callanan and by the time Horgan got a decent shot in with 12 minutes of normal time remaining, plenty of damage had been done by Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn. Glynn was at the heart of so much of what Galway did right. “Johnny is an example of a player that we need,” gushed Cunningham, “a player to develop in the gyms over the winter and what the development programmes in Galway should be producing. He’s young in hurling years but Johnny, the same as every other forward or back, will look at improving for the next day.” That chance comes around quick and on hurling’s second biggest day. Cork’s wait to make amends will feel like an eternity.

Scorers for Galway:

C Mannion (0-7); J Glynn, C Whelan (1-2 each); J Canning (0-5, 2 frees, 1 sideline, 1 65); J Flynn (0-3); A Harte (0-2); David Burke, C Donnellan (0-2 each); A Smith, J Cooney, N Healy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Cork:

P Horgan (0-9, 6 frees, 1 65); C Lehane, S Harnedy (0-3 each); D Kearney (0-2); C Murphy, B Lawton, P O’Sullivan, A Cadogan, A Walsh (0-1 each)

GALWAY:

C Callanan; J Coen, J Hanbury, P Mannion; Daithi Burke, I Tannian, A Harte; A Smith, David Burke; J Canning, C Donnellan, J Flynn; C Whelan, J Glynn, C Mannion.

Subs for Galway:

J Cooney for David Burke (inj 35+1); D Collins for C Donnellan (57); G Lally for I Tannian (62); F Moore for A Smith (65); N Healy for J Glynn (67).

CORK:

A Nash; S McDonnell, B Murphy, S O'Neill; C Murphy, M Ellis, A Walsh; D Cahalane, D Kearney; B Lawton, P Cronin, B Cooper; P Horgan, S Harnedy, C Lehane.

Subs for Cork:

J Coughlan for P Cronin (38); L McLoughlin for C Murphy (inj 44); A Cadogan for B Lawton (47); P O'Sullivan for B Cooper (56).

Referee:

J Owens (Wexford)

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