Allianz National Hurling League final

Tipperary set up an Allianz National Hurling League final meeting with Galway


Tipperary set up an Allianz National Hurling League final meeting with Galway after an impressive five-point win over All-Ireland champions Kilkenny on Sunday afternoon.

Tipperary played with the aid of a strong wind in the first half and went in with a 1-9 to 1-5 lead at the break.

Allianz NHL Semi-Final: Tipperary 1-15 Kilkenny 1-10

Kilkenny failed to mount the comeback many anticipated after the interval, and Liam Sheedy’s resurgent side will now harbour serious ambitions of claiming the league crown against Galway next Sunday.  Kilkenny got the best possible start when Eddie Brennan pounced on a long clearance, slipped past his marker and blasted to the back of the net.

Eoin Kelly hit back with a point for the Premier County, and when Lar Corbett goaled after seven minutes, Tippearary grabbed a lead they would not surrender for the remainder of the half.  Tipp threatened to pull away in the first half, but Richie Power and ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick were in fine form, and a Power point after 22 minutes levelled the scores at 1-5 to 1-5.

Former under-21 star Tommy Fitzgerald struck back immediately for Tipperary, with two further points added to Shane McGrath’s second of the game to give his side a 1-9 to 1-5 half-time lead.  J.J Delaney played at full-back rather than his usual wing-back role, and he struggled to deal with Fitzgerald’s sheer presence at full-forward.

However, Kilkenny started to make inroads into the Tipperary lead after the break, with Michel Rice and Aidan Fogarty reducing the deficit to just two points.  The prolific Kelly hit back for Liam Sheedy’s charges with a free, but substitute Eoin Reid made the score 1-10 to 1-8 14 minutes into the second half.

Kelly added another free, with Richie power responding immediately, but a late flurry of points from substitute Seamus Callinan and Seamus Butler gave Tipperary a deserved win.

Allianz NHL Semi-final: Galway 2-22 0-24 


Galway claimed their place in the final of the 2008 Allianz National Hurling League after a thrilling four-point win over Cork at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday afternoon.  Aided by a stiff breeze, Galway produced a stunning first-half display of attacking hurling to lead by 2-15 to 0-7.

But Cork, perhaps affronted by the potential for embarrassment, brought on all their big guns at the break and mounted a brilliant comeback.  However, it was not to be as Joe Deane, Ronan Curran and the excellent Pa Cronin failed to prevent the eventual four-point loss.

Joe Canning made his inter-county debut and did not disappoint – a sideline cut from way out in the second-half showcasing his remarkable talent.  Goals from Ger Farragher and Iarlaith Tannion were the difference between the sides in the end, and Galway’s attack will prove a handful for any side this summer. 

Galway led through points from Farragher and Niall Healy, but Cork’s Paudie O’Sullivan, younger brother of Diarmuid, who was making his National League debut, struck back for the Rebels.  However, the Tribesmen, with debutant Canning at full-forward, played some wonderful attacking hurling and Kevin Hynes and Aidrian Cullinane made it 0-4 to 0-1.

Ben O’Connor struck a free to bring Cork back into the game but the moment all Galway fans will relish seeing came on 11 minutes, when Canning struck a glorious score for the men from the west.  Iarlaith Tannion also showed his worth as he bullied Diarmuid O’Sullivan to snatch a point and give his side a five-point advantage after 15 minutes. 

But there was even better to come from Tannion 12 minutes later when he goaled after great set-up play by the impressive Canning.  Canning himself got in on the act on 29 minutes when he pulled on a ball on the ground and sent it over the bar for his first ever point in inter-county hurling.

Galway asserted their dominance with another goal from Farragher, who blasted a 20-metre free to the back of the net to give his side a 2-11 to 0-7 lead at the interval. 

With the breeze at their backs, Cork, inspired by the brilliant Tom Kenny, mounted a great comeback.  Bishopstown clubman Pa Cronin was at the heart of all Cork’s good play, and points from the youngster and another from captain John Gardiner left two goals between the sides midway through the second half. 

In total, Cork scored 17 points from play in the second half, but in the end it was not enough after they had allowed their opponents to build up a huge lead.  However, Cork manager Gerald McCarthy will not be worried, as the side he put out in the first half was shorn of the big names that are sure to light up the summer for the Rebels.


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