This side of Galway we’ve seen before. Two years ago, they amassed 50 scoring opportunities against Cork in an All-Ireland quarter-final, scoring 30 of them.
Allianz Hurling League Division 1
GALWAY 3-21 TIPPERARY 0-14
Here, they came close to that figure again as they did in terms of conversion as they were full value for their first Division 1 title in seven years.
Flaky they certainly weren’t, but flat Tipperary certainly were in front of this 16,089 Gaelic Grounds crowd.
A 16-point margin in any language is a hosing but it could have been an outright embarrassment but for Galway’s 17 wides, the couple of shots that dropped short, a Darren Gleeson save from Jason Flynn and a Joe Canning effort that came back off the upright.
Tipperary weren’t at the races, so absent that mitigating circumstances might be mentioned on their behalf.
Fourteen years ago, they had put too much into a league final that fell two weeks prior to a Munster quarter-final, both of which they lost.
From yesterday, it’s four weeks until they and Cork lace boots but as Michael Ryan mentioned, last year’s opening provincial game filled him with uncertainty.
Did they pull their punches? That would be too fair to them when they had nothing to pull.
At the same time, it would also be an insult to a Galway team who came looking for a game but at times looked almost shocked by how easy they had it.
Earlier in the year, Ryan announced Tipperary were aiming to win the competition but they looked anything but interested in doing that here.
At least their pride will have been dented by this defeat. Their attack was Teflon but not in the good sense.
Little that came their way stuck and ultimately the bevy of frees awarded to them in the second half, while justified, seemed like sympathy on referee Colm Lyons’ part.
John McGrath, it could be argued, had his first bad day at the office in a senior Tipperary jersey. He accounted for six of his team’s 14 wides, the first of them from a free and a 65.
John O’Dwyer was later assigned to frees but was then removed from the fray having been largely anonymous in open play.
Steven O’Brien made way before half-time yet others were fortunate to be spared when it was obvious they were struggling.
“We looked way below where we’d like to be in several positions on the field,” remarked Ryan.
“Does it leave question marks? We’ll have a good look at this to see where it leaves us in terms of where did it start, where did it stop.
“I’ve been involved in games like this, I’ve played in games like this, and it’s not nice. It’ll hurt nobody more than our players, but it’s done, that’s all we can say about it now.”
At the other end, Conor Whelan consistently asked questions of Cathal Barrett while Michael Cahill could have been replaced long before Jason Flynn disposed of his challenge for his second goal in the 57th minute.
It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that Galway put some daylight between themselves and Tipperary as their earlier shooting had let them down badly.
A Joe Canning 65 made it 0-6 to 0-3 in their favour and while Brendan Maher answered it the next four scores were Galway’s, three of them from Canning.
A long-range Ronan Maher free cancelled out a Whelan point but Canning finished off the first half scoring to push Galway 0-11 to 0-5 ahead. Neither side were setting the world alight but Galway were by far the more industrious outfit.
“From where I was watching it down early on, probably it didn’t start at 100 miles an hour,” acknowledged Micheál Donoghue.
“I think that gave us an opportunity to get into the game. We were very conscious of the start that we were still in the game after 10 or 15 minutes. I thought the lads done really well on that and then we just pushed on.”
Galway’s second half couldn’t have started better when Flynn finished to the roof of Gleeson’s net after Joseph Cooney did well to create the chance.
Three minutes later, Flynn could have turned provider for a second goal but was over-elaborate in his pass.
Tipperary looked lame compared to the gallops Galway’s forwards were making. Canning twice put Galway 10 up and then 11 in the 55th minute.
Tipperary struck two points in succession but it was over and out when Flynn rounded Cahill for his second goal.
The remainder of the game was redundant. John McGrath struck his sixth wide when he rattled the crossbar but Cathal Mannion was able to show him the way when he finished impressively for a 67th minute goal.
It only inflated an already fully-blown victory but Galway may wonder just who they exactly beat.
Scorers for Galway:
J Canning (0-9, 0-4 frees, 2 65s); J Flynn (2-1); C Whelan (0-5); C Mannion (1-1); A Harte (0-2); J Coen, David Burke, T Monaghan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Tipperary:
J McGrath (0-6, 5 frees); N McGrath, R Maher (frees), M Breen (0-2 each); B Maher, J O’Dwyer (free) (0-1 each).
C. Callanan; A Tuohy, Daithí Burke, P Killeen; P Mannion, G McInerney, A Harte; J Coen, David Burke; C Mannion, J Canning, J Cooney; J Flynn, N Burke, C Whelan.
Subs for Galway:
J Glynn for J Canning (62); J Hanbury for Daithí Burke (66); C Donnellan for N Burke (67); T. Monaghan for J. Flynn (69); S Loftus for P Killeen (70+1).
D Gleeson; C Barrett, J Barry, M Cahill; S Kennedy, R Maher, Pádraic Maher (c); B Maher, J Forde; D McCormack, M Breen, S O’Brien; N McGrath, J O’Dwyer, J McGrath.
Subs for Tipperary:
N O’Meara for S O’Brien (32); Patrick Maher for J O’Dwyer (46); T Hamill for M Cahill, A Flynn for J Forde (both 60); D Quinn for N McGrath (67).
C Lyons (Cork).
Listen to the latest Irish Examiner Sport podcast here:
To get the latest episode of PaperTalk automatically, SUBSCRIBE ON iTUNES
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved