Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 21 January 2018

Galway fightback a worry for Counihan

Cork 1-19
Galway 1-17

CORK manager Conor Counihan felt his side should not have made things so hard for themselves against Galway at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.

The two-point win gave the Rebels their third win from three games, but Counihan knew that they should have had the game wrapped up before the visitors came back into it and almost claimed an unlikely draw.

"Galway probably came out of this with more than we did because there were stages where we looked to have the game under control and they came back," Counihan said afterwards. "We'd be disappointed with our own performance. We were very lucky in the finish."

Leading by 1-10 to 0-6 at half-time, early points in the second half put Cork nine clear, but Galway, inspired by Nicky Joyce and Michael Meehan, began to get a grip and four points in a row had the gap down to four by the 44th minute.

Cork, who had been so tight in defence in the first half, seemed to lose their composure and though points from Colm O'Neill and Pearse O'Neill restored some breathing space, the Tribesmen came back at them again. Sub Garry Sice found the net when a Meehan point attempt came back off the post, and when Cillín de Paor then made it 1-17 to 1-14, it was all to play for.

In a frantic last 10 minutes, the sides traded points, but in injury-time another Galway sub, Danny Cummins, had a great chance of an equalising goal. He blazed his shot over, however, and Cork held on.

It was all so different in the first half as Pearse O'Neill's 29th-minute goal made it 1-7 to 0-4, and with Donncha O'Connor performing excellently at centre-forward, they had extended that lead to seven by the break.

How they managed to allow Galway back in with a fighting chance in the closing stages is sure to be a worry to Counihan and his selectors ahead of a trip to Tyrone in their next game.

"We're scoring well, but that's not going to benefit us if we can't shut down at the other end," Counihan said. "We're just taking it one game at a time. Tyrone are a big challenge, but it's great to be going up there mixing with the best. We know we are underperforming and that we're going to have to improve significantly if we're going to get a result."

Scorers -- Cork: P O'Neill 1-2, C O'Neill (0-3f), D O'Connor 0-4 each, P Kelly 0-3 (0-2f), P O'Flynn, D Goulding, 0-2 each, P Kerrigan, P Kissane 0-1. Galway: N Joyce 0-7 (0-5f), M Meehan 0-6 (0-3f), G Sice 1-0, S Armstrong (0-1 45), C de Paor, D Reilly, D Cummins 0-1 each.

CORK -- K O'Halloran; R Carey, M Shields, E Cotter; P Kissane, G Spillane, N O'Leary; A O'Connor, P O'Neill; P O'Flynn, D O'Connor, P Kelly; D Goulding, C O'Neill, P Kerrigan. Subs: J Hayes for O'Flynn (47), C O'Driscoll for O'Leary (57), F Goold for A O'Connor (69), J Masters for C O'Neill (70).

GALWAY -- E Ó Conghaile; D O'Neill, F Hanley, D Burke; G O'Donnell, D Blake, D Reilly; B Cullinane, P Conroy; C Healy, S Armstrong, D Dunleavy; M Meehan, J Bergin, N Joyce. Subs: C de Paor for Armstrong (11), G Sice for Dunleavy (41), M Clancy for Healy (44), D Cummins for Joyce (65).

Ref -- M Condon ( Waterford ).

Irish Independent

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