Wednesday 21 February 2018

Galway prevail to edge thriller

Cian O'Connell, at Semple Stadium

A thrilling All-Ireland Under-21 semi-final at Semple Stadium eventually ended in a smashing Galway win, as Limerick were unable to outfox the gritty Tribesmen.

Galway displayed craft and character to eke out a victory in a game stuffed with intrigue from start to finish and Niall Burke's seven point haul from play proved decisive.

Tadhg Haran had nailed three points for Galway inside the first nine minutes as the underdogs surprisingly led by 0-5 to 0-2. Limerick pounced for a goal when Shane Dowling burst through the heart of the Galway defence before batting the sliotar past Jamie Ryan.

It was a splendid opening period, Declan Hannon rifled over three from play for Limerick, while Galway's Burke struck five. When the interval arrived Galway departed happy, hitting five points on the spin near the break and they went in 0-14 to 1-9 ahead following a half that dripped with purposeful hurling.

Straight after the restart Haran clipped a free, then Hannon split the uprights with a sublime sideline cut. That was immediately followed by a 39th minute major when Dowling rattled the Galway net with a penalty.

Galway regained the initiative, hitting five without reply again in the third quarter courtesy of Haran, Niall Burke, James Regan, substitute Bernard Burke and the hard working Barry Daly.

Limerick required a goal in the closing stages, but the prominent Dowling was unable to squeeze a late free through a cluster of bodies as Galway survived.

Scorers -- Galway: N Burke 0-7, T Haran 0-7 (2fs), B Daly 0-3, D Glennon, J Regan, D Burke, C Cooney, B Burke 0-1 each.

Limerick: S Dowling 2-5 (1-0pen, 5fs), D Hannon 0-4 (1 sideline), N Kennedy, C Allis, G Mulcahy, K O'Donnell, S O'Brien 0-1 each.

Galway: J Ryan; D Connolly, N Donoghue, G O'Halloran; J Grealish, P Gordon, R Foy; J Coen, D Burke; C Cooney, N Burke, T Haran; J Regan, B Daly, D Glennon. Subs: B Burke for Cooney (47 mins), D Fox for Haran (58 mins).

Limerick: A Murphy; A Dempsey, P Begley, S O'Reilly; J O'Brien, C Hayes, T O'Callaghan; C Allis, S O'Brien; S Dowling, D Hannon, S Kennedy; M Ryan, K Downes, G Mulcahy. Subs: M Carmody for Downes (29 mins), K O'Donnell for Kennedy (49 mins), W Griffin for Ryan (50 mins), B O'Connell for Dempsey (51 mins).

Referee: A Stapelton (Laois).

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