Galway move to verge of Leinster SHC final after easy win over Antrim

Galway 5-29 Antrim 1-22

Conor Whelan of Galway shoots to score his side’s second goal despite the attempts of Gerard Walsh, left, and Paddy Burke of Antrim during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Tom Beary/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Conor McKeon

GALWAY took a step closer to this year’s Leinster SHC final today, cruising past Antrim’s challenge in Pearse Stadium.

They remain unbeaten in this year’s championship and go into next Sunday’s clash with Dublin knowing the avoidance of defeat would cast them in the provincial decider.

The day wasn’t without its collateral damage though and it didn’t start well.

Within a minute, Antrim had a penalty after Niall McKenna was fouled by Éanna Murphy and they had also a goal, when Conal Cunning did the rest.

Worse, much worse, was to come. After seven minutes, Cathal Mannion went off with what looked a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has dogged his season.

Ten minutes later, Fintan Burke went off in a temporary substitution looking groggy after a heavy collision and never reappeared.

Soon after though, the inevitability of the day took hold.

Tiernan Smyth, making his championship debut in goals for Antrim, duffed a pick up and Conor Whelan poked home a goal.

By the time of his second, just before half-time, Galway had already begun to pull away. Conor Cooney hit 0-4 and belatedly, the rest of the attack were showing signs of life.

Whelan’s second was a gem.

He seized a ball out on the right corner, spun inside his man and rifled home from 15 metres or so. It was Whelan’s fifth goal in his last 70 minutes of hurling.

At half-time, that game was over. The scoreline was 2-15 to 1-7 and with Antrim facing a season-defining relegation match with Westmeath next weekend, the second half played off with little intensity.

Kevin Cooney, Tom Monaghan and Liam Collins all added goals as Galway used to final passages of the game for target practice ahead of their return to Croke Park next week.


Galway: E Niland (2 ’65, 2f) 0-8, C Cooney 0-7, C Whelan 2-0, K Cooney, T Monaghan 1-2 each, D McLoughlin 0-4, L Collins 1-0, P Mannion, J Cooney 0-2 each, TJ Brennan, A Touhey 0-1 each.

Antrim: C Cunning 1-3 (1-0 pen, 2f), J McNaughton 0-5 (1 ’65, 1f), P Burke, C Johnston 0-3 each, D McKiernan 0-2, K Molloy, E O’Neill, D Nugent, N McKenna, P Boyle, J Maskey 0-1 each.


GALWAY: E Murphy; D Burke, G McInerney, D Morrissey; F Burke, J Grealish, P Mannion; R Glennon, J Cooney; C Mannion, C Cooney, K Cooney; D McLoughlin, E Niland, C Whelan.

Subs: T Monaghan for C Mannion (7 inj), C Fahy for Glennon (58), A Touhey for Burke (54), L Collins for Whelan (54), J Ryan for J Cooney (63)

ANTRIM: T Smyth; S Rooney, G Walsh, P Burke; C Boyd, N O’Connor, R McGarry; K Molloy, J McNaughton; E O’Neill, C Cunning, D Nugent; P Boyle, N McKenna, C Johnston.

Subs: P Boyle for Walsh (h-t), J Maskey for Nugent (51), D McKenna for Cunning (51), S Walsh for Molloy (55), A Bradley for O’Neill (63), C McKernan for Burke (65)

REF:M Kennedy (Tipperary)