GAA: Galway crumple to Cork in second half capitulation
By Darragh Nolan
Galway 3-22 Cork 4-24
Intercounty hurling’s return to Pearse Stadium ended in disappointment for Galway as a second half nightmare saw Cork’s forwards run roughshod in a four goal performance.
The Tribesmen had maintained a healthy early lead but Cork grew into the game to bring the scores level at halftime at 1-13 apiece.
A disastrous second half saw Cork hit the back of the net three times as Galway had a man sent off.
The home side came off the better in the opening 10 minutes. Pádraic Mannion opened the scoring from distance, Evan Niland had two from play and Martin McManus rewarded Henry Shefflin’s decision to hand him his debut at 15 with marauding play in the full forward line.
Dogged defending in numbers left Cork with no space to operate in the forward lines early on and Galway opened up a 0-05 to 0-02 advantage for their efforts.
Cork drew level via a Conor Lehane goal against the run of play – the ball ripped across Darach Fahy’s goal leaving the Ardrahan man no chance.
The Westerners reclaimed their lead almost immediately. Kevin Cooney announced his return to action with a short-range goal of his own to bring the lead back to three points.
Declan Dalton, who finished with 0-08, had the pick of the first half scores as he leapt for a sideline ball and fired over on the turn. The Galway lead ballooned to five before a 0-06 run for Cork nudged them ahead.
The sides traded scores to close the first half level despite Galway largely dominating proceedings; the return of captain Joseph Cooney was vital and McManus made a statement in his maiden appearance.
Second half disasterclass
Two near identical goals opened the second half for Cork. Seán Twomey received the ball from the right hand side to tap home; Lehane then claimed his second from a similar passage of play.
What had been an even game descended to a comedy of errors for Galway – Oisín Salmon received his marching orders after picking up a second yellow.
A 2-03 unanswered blitz in just five minutes all but put the game out of Galway’s reach. Despite the Tribes’ efforts to keep the scoreboard ticking, the Cork lead grew as large as 11.
Twomey sliced through a rattled Galway back line for his brace and a 4-23 to 1-21 lead for his side. The Cork forward line was relentless with just 0-01 of their huge total coming from elsewhere.
Shane Barrett with 0-04, Shane Kingston with 0-06 and 2-00 and 2-03 for Twomey and Lehane respectively proved far too much for a Galway team reduced to 14.
Pearse Stadium’s 8,872 strong crowd had fallen into a lull but hopes of a miraculous comeback sprang up when McManus rubber-stamped his stellar debut with a goal.
Substitute Brian Concannon raised another green flag and a chance to draw within just one of Cork came and went when Kevin Cooney has a penalty saved by Cork goalie Patrick Collins.
Galway were missing some key men after Shefflin made six changes from the win over Wexford. All-Ireland champions Limerick visit Pearse Stadium next on 26 February coming off a dominant win over Clare.
Galway: Darach Fahy; Jack Grealish, Gearóid McInerney, Oisín Salmon; Padraic Mannion (0-01), Joseph Cooney, Darren Morrissey; Gavin Lee, Seán Linnane; Tom Monaghan, Conor Whelan (0-02), Jason Flynn (0-01); Evan Niland (0-11, 0-08f), Kevin Cooney (1-01), Martin McManus (1-03).
Subs: Cianan Fahy (0-01) for Monaghan (half-time), Cathal Mannion (0-01) for Lee, Ronan Murphy for Morrissey, Brian Concannon (1-00) for Flynn, Liam Collins (0-01f) for Niland.
Cork: Patrick Collins; Conor O’Callaghan, Eoin Downey, Eoin Roche; Cormac O’Brien, Ciaran Joyce, Tommy O’Connell; Sam Quirke; Brian Roche; Declan Dalton (0-08, 0-02f), Conor Lehane (2-03), Sean Twomey (2-00); Cormac Beausang (0-01), Shane Barrett (0-04), Shane Kingston (0-06, 0-04f).
Subs: Luke Meade for Quirke, Brian Hayes (0-01) for Beausang, Conor Cahalane (0-01) for Barrett (55), Padraig Power for Kingston, Colin Walsh for Roche.
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).