Kilkenny losses ‘showed us the way’

Harsh lessons learned from Kilkenny down the years were central to this Galway victory, according to winning-captain Andy Smith.

Seamus Callanan bagged three goals for Tipperary, but on each occasion Galway hit the next two scores; they would hit four without reply in the aftermath of Callanan’s third green flag on 53 minutes to regain the lead.

“The way we responded to each of their goals, you learn that from playing Kilkenny. Every time you get a goal against Kilkenny they seem to come back and rally to get the next point and that is vital that you do that. We have to look at the clips again, but there were probably some soft goals there. There was a lot of space in front of Callanan,” Smith said.

“We showed good character to come back from the goals and we were always within striking distance of Tipperary which was vital. We just hung in there.”

“It was a fierce battle for the 70 minutes and it was anyone’s game at the end. It is great we can dig into that character and we showed it in abundance today. It was looking like it was going to be a draw. Joe [Canning] picked out Shane [Moloney] with a superb pass and the whole place seemed to open up for him. He was cool and calm and fair play to him.”

Smith, along with midfield colleague David Burke, were dominant in their battle with James Woodlock and Shane McGrath, the latter two replaced.

“We knew coming here that there was going to be massive intensity in the middle eight, that is the way the game has gone. You have to be hounding on those breaks and trying to get on top in the middle eight. If they get on top there, you are inevitably going to lose the match,” he said.

Smith himself was hauled ashore after 64 minutes, the tank emptied. Joe Canning , paid tribute to the contributions of the younger members, match-winner Shane Moloney earning special mention.

“The young lads on this team have really stood up. It’s an extra bonus to get to an All-Ireland final but it’s going to be a huge challenge the next day. Shane’s been around a good while even though he’s still quite young. He’s a minor All-Ireland winning-captain and Shane is a good lad who has really brought something to us this year. When he got his chance he took it. That’s what we want from the subs.”

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