O'Donoghue sets up extra-time triumph
GALWAY pulled off a dramatic escape before powering their way to a shock victory over Clare in a thrilling curtain-raiser at Croke Park yesterday.
Clare, last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists, looked on course for a another decider when they led by three points in regulation injury-time.
However, a powerful Galway side launched a last-gasp effort that resulted in Gerard O'Donoghue bundling home an equalising goal to force extra-time, in which the Tribesmen, inspired by captain Shane Maloney, maintained their momentum.
The teams were level on 0-3 each after 10 minutes, but Clare began to pull clear as midfield dynamos Colm Galvin and Tony Kelly came to the fore and they led 0-9 to 0-5 at half-time.
The introduction of the towering Jack Carr and Dean Higgins gave Galway new impetus and they were back on level terms after 43 minutes. Clare looked to have struck a decisive blow when a great run by Aaron Cunningham set up Oisin Hickey for a goal, but John Hanbary and Padraig Brehony kept Galway in touch.
It looked like Clare had done enough to stay clear, but then in injury-time, Galway's powerful forwards drove Clare back and after a ruck over a loose ball, it popped up perfectly for O'Donoghue.
To add to Clare's woe, Tony Kelly had a monstrous effort from a free that came back off an upright just before full-time.
Galway dominated the first period of extra-time, with Maloney rampant, and led 1-19 to 1-16 at the break. Clare searched for a response, but ran out of steam.
SCORERS -- Galway: S Maloney 0-10 (7f), G O'Donoghue 1-2, J Carr 0-3, P Brehony, D Higgins 0-2 each, J Hanbary, B Lane, M Mullins, B Molloy 0-1 each. Clare: C O'Connell 0-5 (3f), A Cunningham 0-4, O Hickey 1-0, T Kelly (1f), C Galvin 0-3 each, S O'Donnell 0-2, M Moroney 0-1.
GALWAY -- S Hannon; O Teagle, P Killeen, C Diviney; J Hanbary, S Sweeney, P Mannion; B Lane, P Brehony; J Flynn, J Glynn, A Tuohy; G O'Donoghue, S Maloney, K Cullinane. Subs: J Carr for K Cullinane (h-t), D Higgins for Tuohy (37), B Molloy for Lane (47), M Mullins for Flynn (53), P Flaherty for G O'Donoghue (68), S Caulfield for Killeen (73), B Keane for Hanbury (79).
CLARE -- E Quilligan; S O'Brien, J Browne, S Morey; J Colleran, J Shanahan, G O'Connell; C Galvin, T Kelly; E Enright, C O'Connell, P Duggan; S O'Donnell, O Hickey, A Cunningham. Subs: S Liddy for Enright (38), M Moroney for G O'Connell (45), D Maloney for S Liddy (70), G O'Connell for Hickey (77).
REF -- S Cleere (Kilkenny).