Monday 20 November 2017

Mulholland praises players' resolve as they consign record defeat to history

Galway 1-12 Tipperary 0-11

John Fallon

IT was a night of redemption at Pearse Stadium for these two sides as both tried to recover from 17-point provincial quarter-final maulings but, in the end, there was relief in the Galway dressing room and an equal measure of regret across the corridor as Tipp let a glorious chance slip.

IT was a night of redemption at Pearse Stadium for these two sides as both tried to recover from 17-point provincial quarter-final maulings but, in the end, there was relief in the Galway dressing room and an equal measure of regret across the corridor as Tipp let a glorious chance slip.

Galway's horror run in the qualifiers is well chronicled and when they led by just a point at the interval having played with the strong wind, it appeared that their losing run since 2004 was about to be extended.

Galway, forced to shoot from difficult positions as Tipp crowded their defence, hit nine wides in the opening half but Peter Creedon's men were almost as wasteful, kicking seven wides into the teeth of a typical Salthill wind.

A good start to the second half was all Tipp needed to fuel a shock result, but it was the Tribesmen who took control. Two quick points and then the only goal of the game and suddenly Galway were ahead by double scores, enough to withstand a late Tipp rally.

"We were actually playing fairly well in the opening half," said Galway manager Alan Mulholland. "But it was hard to get space inside and we were hoping that playing into the wind there might be a bit more space.

"We upped our tackle rate and upped our work in general and we were able to put that bit of distance between the two sides which carried us through for what was probably a poor fourth quarter on our behalf."

The sides exchanged points five times in the opening half before man of the match Sean Armstrong edged Galway 0-6 to 0-5 in front at the break. It did not look like enough and the Galway supporters in the crowd of 3,608 were rightly worried.

But it changed on the resumption. Mark Hehir and Armstrong tacked on points. Then Peter Acheson and the hard-working Danny Cummins exchanged points, but the key score came after 46 minutes.

A high effort from Cummins from the right was held up in the wind and it broke kindly for Michael Farragher and the debutant from Corofin slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.

It was Galway's first goal in a qualifier match since 2007 and the relief was palpable.

"It was a game where a goal was always going to be a major score and we were lucky enough to get it," added a relieved Mulholland.

"The last six weeks were hard for everybody ... for the management, for the players, for all the support staff as well ... coming off that record defeat to Mayo wasn't easy.

"But I would like to pay tribute to the players, in particular, and all the management team, nothing could be asked of them for the last six weeks. We really trained really hard. We trained harder in the last six weeks than we have trained all year and everybody did what they were asked to do."

Tipp rallied with five points without reply from Conor Sweeney (three) and sub Bernard O'Brien (two) but the goal they needed just didn't materialise, with goalkeeper Manus Breathnach producing a third good save of the game to deny Sweeney late on.

"There was only one team playing in the last quarter of an hour and that was us but the goal didn't come," said Tipp manager Peter Creedon.

"We put a lot of energy into the first half playing into the breeze and, in the second half, our plan was to push on. In fairness to Galway, they hit hard in the third quarter but our lads finished really, really strong," he added.

SCORERS – Galway: S Armstrong 0-4 (1f), M Farragher 1-1, D Cummins 0-3, M Meehan 0-2, (1f), M Hehir, P Conroy 0-1 each. Tipperary: C Sweeney 0-5 (1f), B O'Brien 0-2, A Matassa, B Fox, H Coghlan, S O'Brien 0-1 each.

GALWAY – M Breathnach 8; C Forde 7, F Hanley 6, K Kelly 6; C Doherty 6, G O'Donnell 6, G Sice 6; P Conroy 7, G Higgins 6; J O'Brien 6; S Armstrong 8, M Farragher 7; M Hehir 7, M Meehan 7, D Cummins 7. Subs: T Flynn 6 for Higgins (50), S Walsh 6 for J O'Brien (54), M Martin 6 for Meehan (60), F O Curraoin 6 for Farragher (61), D O'Neill 6 for Sice (64).

TIPPERARY – P Fitzgerald 7; A Morrissey 6, P Codd 7, J Coghlan 6; B Fox 7, D Lynch 6, D Leahy 6; H Coghlan 7, S O'Brien 7; L Egan 6, P Acheson 7, I Fahey 6; C Sweeney 7, P Quirke 6, G Hannigan 6. Subs: B Mulvihill 6 for Lynch (49), B O'Brien 7 for Fahey (56), A Matassa 6 for S O'Brien (60).

REF – P O'Sullivan (Kerry).

Irish Independent

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