Wednesday 21 February 2018

Galway's All-Ireland famine: 26 years and counting

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Galway started the 1989 hurling championship as double All-Ireland champions but their three-in-a-row bid ended against Tipperary in the semi-final. Here's how they fared in five-year bands since then.

1990-94

Managers: Cyril Farrell (1984-91), Jarlath Cloonan (1992-94)

Titles: 0

All-Ireland final appearances: 2 (1990,1993)

Best year: 1990 and 1993. Galway reached two All-Ireland finals, losing to Cork in 1990 and Kilkenny in 1993.

Worst year: 1991. They lost All-Ireland semi-final to Tipperary by 12 points.

Biggest miss: 1990. Galway led Cork by seven points after 45 minutes before being hit for 4-3 in the next 18 minutes. The scars from that defeat took a long time to disappear but they did eventually and Galway returned to the All-Ireland final in 1993, where they lost by five points to Kilkenny. They could have no complaints – Kilkenny were the better side.

1995-99

Managers: Mattie Murphy (1995-96), Cyril Farrell (1997-98), Mattie Murphy (1999)

Titles: 1 (NHL 1996)

All-Ireland final appearances: 0

Best year: 1996. Galway won the Allianz League before losing to Wexford by three points in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Worst year: 1998. They lost the All-Ireland quarter-final to Waterford by 10 points.

Biggest miss: 1999. Galway led Clare by nine points in the All-Ireland quarter-final but were reined in. It ended level and Galway lost the replay by seven points.

2000-04

Managers: Mattie Murphy (2000), Noel Lane (2001-02), Conor Hayes (2003-04)

Titles: 2 (NHL 2000, 2004)

All-Ireland final appearances: 1 (2001)

Best year: 2001. They beat Kilkenny in All-Ireland semi-final before losing by three points to Tipperary in the final.

Worst year: 2004. The NHL win counted for little as Galway lost an All-Ireland qualifier tie to Kilkenny by 20 points in one of their worst ever championship performances.

Biggest miss: 2001. Galway enjoyed no luck whatsoever in the All-Ireland final.

2005-09

Managers: Conor Hayes (2005-06), Ger Loughnane (2007-08), John McIntyre (2009)

Titles: 0

All-Ireland final appearances: 1 (2005)

Best year: 2005. They beat Tipperary and Kilkenny to reach the All-Ireland final, losing to Cork by five points.

Worst year: 2008. Joe Canning scored 2-12 but it wasn't enough to prevent a two-point defeat in the All-Ireland qualifiers against a Cork side that lost goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack to a red card just before half-time.

Biggest miss: 2005. If Galway had reproduced the form shown against Tipperary and Kilkenny, they would have beaten Cork in the All-Ireland final.

2010-14

Managers: John McIntyre (2010-11), Anthony Cunningham (2012-present, below)

Titles: 1 (NHL 2010)

All-Ireland final appearances: 1 (2012)

Best year: 2012. Reached the All-Ireland final and put themselves in a position to win first time out against Kilkenny.

Worst year: 2013. Expectations in Galway were understandably high but they completely flunked their two biggest tests, losing the Leinster final to Dublin by 12 points and the All-Ireland quarter-final to Clare by six points.

Biggest miss: 2012. They beat Kilkenny by 10 points in the Leinster final and led them by seven points after 32 minutes of the All-Ireland final. How much more would have it taken to tip Kilkenny over the edge? Instead, Galway allowed them back into the game, scoring only a point in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The game ended level and Kilkenny won the replay comfortably.

Irish Independent

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