Galway 3-21 Tipperary 3-13
A 14-point haul from Evan Niland helped Galway secure a league quarter-final date with Wexford next weekend.
Galway trailed by seven points at the break but aided by the considerable breeze blowing into the city end in Pearse Stadium and two well-taken goals from Conor Whelan, Galway booked their place in the knock-out stages at the expense of Tipperary.
The second half was a much more open affair than the first and Whelan and Brian Concannon, who hit three excellent points after the restart, gradually turning the game back in the home side’s favour.
And with Joe Canning still absent, Niland delivered a near-flawless display from placed balls as they eventually ran out convincing winners in difficult conditions.
Even though Tipperary goaled through John McGrath after just three minutes of the first half, Liam Sheedy’s men struggled to make use of the breeze early on.
In fact, it was Galway who landed the first point of the day from play when Concannon found his range on 17 minutes. And when Niland landed his first point from play immediately afterwards, Galway were level at 1-2 to 0-5 midway through the first half, a situation manager Shane O’Neill would surely have been pleased with considering the breeze they were playing against.
However, John McGrath was making the most of limited service and he stole in for his second goal on 21 minutes. He ghosted into the area to take control of a loose ball to hammer home from a tight angle.
Niland was excellent from frees against the breeze and that helped to keep Galway in touch but Tipp were finding their groove as the half wore on and they outscored the home side by 1-3 to 0-1 from the half-hour mark until the short whistle .
Captain Seamus Callanan, Ronan Maher and Cian Darcy all pointed before Tipp produced a brilliant team goal. Padraic Maher found Callanan, who killed the ball with a brilliant touch and fed Darcy. Darcy produced a defense-splitting pass and Jason Forde did the rest to beat James Skehill and help Sheedy’s men into a 3-7 to 0-9 lead at the interval.
On the restart, Galway chipped away at Tipp’s advantage but still trailed on 56 minutes. However, when Whelan bagged his second goal, the home side pinned their ears back to run out convincing winners and set up a date with Fitzgerald’s men.
SCORERS - Galway: E Niland 0-14 (13f), C Whelan 2-0, B Concannon 0-4, C Mannion 1-0, C Cooney, J Coen, J Flynn (1 sl) 0-1 each.
Tipperary: J Forde 1-5 (2 65, 2f), J McGrath 2-1, C Darcy 0-2, P Maher, R Maher, D Quirke, M Breen, S Callanan 0-1 each.
Galway: J Skehill; D Morrissey, G McInerney P Killeen; P Mannion, S Cooney, F Burke; J Coen, A Harte; C Mannion, E Niland, J Flynn; C Cooney, C Whelan, B Concannon SUBS: S Loftus for Killeen (26), A Tuohey for S Cooney (45), David Burke for P Mannion, N Burke for Flynn (both 55), K Cooney for B Concannon (66)
Tipperary: B Hogan; Paul Maher, B Heffernan, A Flynn; S Kennedy, Padraic Maher, R Maher; N McGrath, G Browne; J Forde, J McGrath, D Quirke; J O’Dwyer, S Callanan, C Darcy SUBS: S O’Brien for Paul Maher, M Breen for Browne (48), P Flynn for O’Dwyer (56), D McCormack for Quirke (58), J Cahill for Darcy (68)
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick)