Shefflin: Galway must improve for semi-final showdown with Limerick
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final: Galway 2-19 Cork 1-21
GALWAY manager Henry Shefflin said they know they will need a huge improvement if they are to topple champions Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final but he was just pleased they got over Cork at Semple Stadium.
It was a far from convincing display but two goals in the opening half was enough of a platform against a wasteful Cork side in a game which only came to life after the restart.
“We know we are the underdogs, they have a fabulous team and we saw what they did in the Munster final,” said Shefflin as he turns his attention to Limerick. “We were so disappointed after our Leinster final performance and to turn on the television and watch the Munster final, my god that's what we want to try and achieve.
“But we have a chance, we are there and we will learn a massive amount. We'll try and recover and get ready for two weeks.
“In some big moments, big players stood up. For that, you have to be very proud of the way they performed.
“To be fair, the first half was two teams lacking a little bit of confidence. I think it was a cagey affair. I think the second half definitely opened up a bit. I'm just thrilled with the character the lads showed because it could have easily went against us there," he added.
Galway led by 2-6 to 0-7 at half-time after getting a glorious start inside 20 seconds when a shot for a point from corner-back Jack Grealish was dropped by Cork goalkeeper Patrick Collins into the net.
Cork didn't panic but struggled to score and by half-time shot a dozen wides and missed three gilt-edge goal chances, the first of which came straight after Grealish's effort but Eanna Murphy saved well from Alan Connolly.
Murphy also produced good saves from Robbie O'Flynn and Darragh Fitzgibbon during an opening half which struggled to come to life.
Cork never managed to get level after the concession of the early goal and they suffered another major blow after 18 minutes when the excellent Conor Whelan got inside Sean O'Donoghue and drilled home a goal low to the net from the tightest of angles.
Cork got a great start four minutes after the restart when Shane Kingston, son of manager Kieran, soloed through and finished well to the net and cut the gap to two.
But Galway, with David Burke getting his second point on a day he edged out Joe Canning to make a record 63 championship appearances for the Tribesmen, always seemed to keep their noses in front.
Their full-back line of Jack Grealish, Daithi Burke — who took out Seamus Harnedy with a massive shoulder late in the match as he bore down on goal — and Darren Morrissey were superb.
The introduction of Pat Horgan yielded four points after the break, while another Cork sub Alan Cadogan hit three from play.
But with Cathal Mannion taking his haul to four points and subs Brian Concannon, Johnny Coen and Jason Flynn also hitting the target, Galway just about did enough to get over the line and leave Cork manager Kingston left to rue a bad loss.
"We had 24 shots and seven scores, so the efficiency was really poor. In that there were missed goal scoring opportunities which we've been taking easily enough in the last few games, but today for some reason we weren't," said Kingston.
Galway: E Murphy; J Grealish (1-0), Daithi Burke, D Morrissey; P Mannion, G McInerney, F Burke; J Cooney (0-2), R Glennon (0-1); T Monaghan (0-1), C Cooney (0-5, 0-4 frees), David Burke (0-2), C Mannion (0-3), C Fahy, C Whelan (1-2). Subs: B Concannon (0-1) for Fahy (30), J Flynn (0-1) for McInerney (34), J Coen (0-1) for Glennon (45), E Niland for David Burke (69), G Lee for Monaghan (74).
Cork: P Collins; N O'Leary, R Downey, S O'Donoghue; D Cahalane (0-1), C Joyce, M Coleman (0-3, 0-2, 0-1 sideline); D Fitzgibbon (0-3), L Meade (0-1); R O'Flynn (0-3), S Harnedy, S Kingston (1-2, 0-1 free); T O'Mahony, A Connolly, C Lehane (0-1f). Subs: P Horgan (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65) for Lehane ht; J O'Connor for Connolly (47), G Millerick for Downey (51), A Cadogan (0-3) for O'Mahony (58), T O'Connell for Harnedy (68),
Referee: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow).