Cork made it three wins in a row with win over Galway

Galway, despite a second loss in four games, also guaranteed a place in the knockout stages

Galway 0-20 Cork 2-17

Supporters of either of these counties looking for strong evidence of what might lie ahead for the year will have left Pearse Stadium more confused than ever after an entertaining encounter which bounced one way and then the other.

In the end, Cork made it three wins in a row but Galway, despite a second loss in four games, were also guaranteed a place in the knockout stages by the time this contest ended in front of a crowd of 7,864.

It was a testing day for Galway supporters who were hoping for some solace from the hurlers after watching their footballers do down to Cavan, but a late surge failed to yield an equalising goal after Cork smothered two piledriver frees from Joe Canning and when Jason Flynn flicked home a goal in the dying seconds, it was disallowed for square ball by Tipperary referee Fergal Horgan.


“It was brave decision by the referee to give a square ball at this venue,” said Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy. “The home crowd were baying for blood. I thought it was a very good game. Both sides had a lot going for them. A lot of good scores in it and it could have gone either way to be honest.”

He was pleased with the way his men, who had averaged 28 points a game in the league this year going into this one, opened up a 1-10 to 0-10 interval lead despite playing against the fresh breeze.

Cork wides

But it was a different story after the restart, the wind may have died but that hardly accounted for the 10 wides which Cork shot and it was no surprise when Galway hauled them back, with substitute Aidan Harte making a big impression when introduced.

He hit three points from play, his third effort leveling the match at 0-16 to 1-13 after 56 minutes, before Joseph Cooney’s third point edged them in front for the first time moments later.

Dean Higgins doubled the lead but Galway, who had lost possession in their defence in the build-up to Paudie O'Sullivan's opening goal after 19 minutes, again paid a big price when Greg Lally's handpass went astray and Patrick Horgan set up O'Sullivan for a second goal six minutes from time.

"We were disappointed with the two goals," said Galway manager Anthony Cunningham. "There were some fantastic scoring and some bad wides, first-half and parts of the second-half. That's something we're going to have to improve on. The forwards will put their hands up and say they have to improve on that."

Cunningham was pleased with the way his men responded in the second-half and couldn’t fault the late efforts to salvage a draw after Rob O’Shea had put three between them.

“They were two fantastic tries. The first was a free, brilliant shot from Joe Canning. It finished up getting a closer in free. We struck the net but it was deemed to be in the square. It was probably hard to call, really, from any angle.”

The same could be said about the overall performances of both sides on a day when both struggled with a pitch that is still recovering from heavy winter drainage works.

GALWAY: C Callanan; P Mannion, J Hanbury, J Coen; G McInerney, G Lally, D Collins; I Tannian, A Smith; J Cooney (0-3), J Canning (0-4, 0-1 sl), J Flynn (0-5, 0-4, frees); C Mannion (0-4), J Glynn, J Regan. Subs: P Brehony for Regan (27 mins), D Higgins (0-1) for Brehony (35 mins), A Harte (0-3) for Tannian (43 mins), K Hynes for C Mannion (67 mins).
CORK: A Nash; W Kearney, S McDonnell, S O'Neill; L McLoughlin, M Ellis, C Murphy; D Kearney (0-1), A Walsh (0-1); S Harnedy (0-1), P Horgan (0-8, 0-2 frees, 0-3, one 65), B Lawton (0-1); P O'Sullivan (2-1), C Lehane (0-3), S Moylan. Subs: L O'Farrell for Moylan (51 mins), A Cadogan for Lawton (51 mins), R O'Shea (0-1) for Walsh (61 mins), J Coughlan for Harnedy (70 mins).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).