Wednesday 25 April 2018

McIntyre unhappy with Galway focus

Galway 4-15
Waterford 1-15

Manager labels 23-minute scoreless spell 'criminal'

CRIMINAL or awesome? Take your pick from the contrasting portrayals of Galway's performance at Pearse Stadium yesterday.

Galway manager John McIntyre classified his side's second-quarter fade-out as "criminal", while Waterford counterpart Davy Fitzgerald described the Tribesmen's better periods as "awesome". Both were correct, as Galway went from devastating to dreadful and back again before securing their second league win in a week.

Galway hit Waterford for 2-3 in the opening 15 minutes, the goals coming from Iarla Tannian and Niall Healy, but failed to score again before half-time, leaving them trailing by two points as they headed for the dressing-room where, no doubt, McIntyre was less than complimentary about their uneven efforts.

"We didn't score for 23 minutes which, at this level of hurling, is criminal," said McIntyre.

Their response to that long period of inertia was swift and effective as they fired over three points in the opening two minutes of the second half. Richie Foley equalised in the 39th minute but Waterford were crushed (2-7 to 0-2) over the next 15 minutes.

Galway scored some excellent points in that spell and embellished them with goals from Tannian and Aidan Harte. Tannian's 49th-minute goal was down to an error by Waterford 'keeper Adrian Power who, in attempting to control a long-range shot for a point, allowed the ball to squirm over the line. Harte's goal in the 54th minute was finished with a sweet ground-stroke after the ball broke loose in the Waterford square, putting Galway 4-13 to 1-11 ahead.

Waterford seemed set for an embarrassingly heavy defeat but they dug in from there on and pared two points back as Galway appeared to ease back on the throttle.


McIntyre wasn't pleased with that either but it says much for their efficiency during the good times that, despite fading in both halves, they still won by nine points.

"Look, Galway were awesome at times today," said Fitzgerald. "They out-classed us and we have to accept that. I've been saying all along that Galway will take some stopping this year if they get their game right.

"Having said that, we gave away two sloppy goals and didn't take enough of our chances when we were on top in the first half."

Waterford shot 11 wides with the wind in the first half after recovering from a dreadful start. Direct from the throw-in, Galway full-forward Joe Gantley out-foxed Liam Lawlor and fed Healy, who smacked in a goal.

With the Waterford full-back line looking edgy, Galway hit for a second goal in the 15th minute, Tannian applying the finishing touch.

Remarkably, they didn't score again before half-time, while Waterford hit 1-6, the goal coming from Shane Walsh in the 33rd minute. Waterford's return should have been higher but some of their long-range shooting was poorly directed, while their obsession with short hand-passing frequently led to movements breaking down.

Still, they would have been pleased with their interval position, but everything changed dramatically on the re-start as Galway moved to a level where Waterford could do very little for a period except admire from afar.

Ger Farragher, Tannian, Gantley, Harte, Niall Cahalan and Cyril Donnellan were all very enterprising from midfield up, while David Collins, Damien Joyce and Shane Kavanagh did well in defence. Collins' return to the team after a long-term absence due to injury is a major plus for Galway, as he brings a real cutting-edge to their game.

Shane Walsh was the pick of the Waterford attack, while Maurice Shanahan's accuracy from frees was also

impressive. Foley worked hard at midfield while Michael 'Brick' Walsh did well at centre-back, but the problems persisted in the full-back line.

After beating Dublin so easily a week earlier, Waterford were reunited with a painful reality. They are still very much in experimental mode but yesterday's setback raises question marks about whether the back-up troops are as good as was thought after the Waterford Crystal competition, followed by the demolition of Dublin.

"We hit a good day last week but this was different. Some of Galway's play was outstanding and we just couldn't cope. But in terms of effort I have nothing but praise for our lads," said Fitzgerald.

"It's not easy to keep battling when things are going against you as much as they were at times today but the lads did that. You must remember they were playing against a Galway team that's right up there with the very best.

"Still, it's only February and All-Irelands aren't won in February. We'll learn from this and move on."

A nine-point win was a real bonus for Galway as it gave a great boost to their scoring difference, but clearly they still have work to do in terms of producing more even performances.

"We're okay when we're on the ball but, when we're not, we're inclined to wander a bit. Still, we sorted things out today, which was encouraging. I always believe that the best time to sort out a problem is during the game," said McIntyre.

"The half-time break came at exactly the right time for us as it gave us a chance to re-focus and address what was going wrong. We got the response early in the second half, which made all the difference."

All but two points of Galway's total came from open play, underlining the scoring potential the team possesses when it hits the right note. That was the major plus Galway took out of yesterday's game but, on the downside, their inability to pick off even a few points when things were going badly in the second quarter is a worry for McIntyre and Co.

Still, they have picked up full points from two league games and have accumulated a points difference of +16, which is a decent yield to have on deposit heading into March.

Scorers -- Galway: I Tannian 2-2, A Harte, N Healy 1-1 each, J Gantley 0-4, G Farragher 0-3 (0-2f), N Cahalan 0-2, A Callanan, D Collins 0-1 each. Waterford: M Shanahan 0-9 (0-7f), S Walsh 1-1, R Foley 0-2, J Nagle, S Molumphy, T Connors 0-1 each.

Galway -- C Callanan; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Joyce; D Barry, T Og Regan, D Collins; G Farragher, N Cahalan; A Callanan, C Donnellan, A Harte; I Tannian, J Gantley, N Healy. Subs: E Ryan for Healy (63), K Hynes for Donnellan (66), D Burke for Tannian (67).

Waterford -- A Power; A Kearney, L Lawlor, N Connors; D Prendergast, M Walsh, J Murray; J Nagle, R Foley; M Shanahan, K Moran, T Connors; S Walsh, G Hurney, S Molumphy. Subs: M Doherty for Prendergast (ht), E McGrath for Murray (45), O Whelan for Foley (52), M O'Brien for Lawlor (62), T Ryan for Moran (66).

REF -- B Gavin (Offaly)

Irish Independent

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