All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final - Limerick's flying start was crucial
GALWAY TACTICAL TAKE
GALWAY have made a habit of flying out of the blocks throughout the summer, and were fully expected to go for the jugular early on against Limerick yesterday. Yet, while the Treatymen may have been waiting for, and expecting, an aerial bombardment towards the twin towers of Jonathan Glynn and Conor Cooney, it didn’t arrive. Limerick worked like dogs to close down the space way out the field and Galway looked panicked at times, making a raft of errors and gifting possession. John Hanbury was clearly struggling to handle Seamus Flanagan but remained on him until he was subbed. Cathal Mannion, such a big player this summer, was little more than a bystander at times while it wasn’t until late on that Joe Canning really came into the game.
LIMERICK TACTICAL TAKE
GALWAY have blitzed many teams from the opening bell this summer, but Limerick knew it was crucial to start better than the champions. And they did by hitting the opening three points. But Limerick didn’t stop there. At times their harassment of Galway was reminiscent of the Tyrone footballers in ’03 against Kerry. They never allowed Galway to settle, with their three goals coming from turnovers telling its own story.
They also stopped the supply into Jonathan Glynn at source, while their half-back line didn’t allow any runners to pass them. The delivery from their wing-backs into the forward line was outstanding too – and the Limerick attackers were always out in front of their markers. Old-fashioned intensity was the key to their victory.
James Owens (Wexford)
FAILED to call a couple of frees for both sides but generally had a decent afternoon in a game that never really threatened to spill over. Couldn’t argue with any of the yellow cards dished out and let the game flow as much as possible.
LIMERICK’S second goal, by Tom Morrissey, was well-taken, but given the pressure he was under to find the net, Joe Canning’s major was something special. Galway were still five points down in the fifth minute of added time when the Portumna man stood over a 21-yard free – and duly rifled it high into the net to set up a frantic finish to this final.
YOU could make the case for Limerick’s first goal, or even their second or third, but a major reason this game had such a thrilling finish was a goal the Treatymen didn’t get. Eight points up, at 2-15 to 0-13, Graeme Mulcahy and Cian Lynch combined to send full-forward Seamus Flanagan one-on-one with Galway goalkeeper James Skehill.
A third Limerick goal then would surely have finished the Tribesmen off but the Cappataggle clubman bravely blocked, at the cost of sustaining a bad concussion. Galway scored the next three points, though, as part of outscoring Limerick by 2-5 to 1-1 from that save onwards.
Mike Casey (Limerick) v Johnny Glynn (Galway)
JOHNNY Glynn had a four-inch height advantage and almost four stone extra weight on Limerick full-back Mike Casey, and three years as well – but the latter still more than held his own, although he did have help.
Limerick skipper Declan Hannon dropped back to double up on the big Ardrahan man and the Treaty’s containment policy meant that Glynn did not add to the 2-2 he had scored in this Championship, although he did assist a couple of scores.
Casey had performed very well before being forced off injured in the 50th minute and his replacement Richie McCarthy continued in that vein.
Limerick boss John Kiely said of Casey afterwards: “He was brilliant, he was probably under the most pressure of all the players because of the amount of commentary that was on his match-up with Johnny Glynn. While there was a total mis-match height-wise, Mike used every ounce of strength in his body to attack the ball, he really had a fantastic match. I don’t know who got man of the match but he is a contender.”