Tipp outgun Galway in Cracker

From gaa.ie

Tipperary emerged deserving winners over Galway in the Allianz NHL Division One final at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday in a match that seriously whetted the appetite for the upcoming championship campaign. 

Allianz NHL Division One Final

Tipperary 3-18 Galway 3-16

The early stages of this pulsating game moved at a million miles an hour as Galway got off to a great start with Damien Hayes pointing from play.

Eoin Kelly registered the first Tipp score from a free before Hayes slotted over his second of the day, once again from play.

Hayes looked like he is well up for this match and was as  as ever as the normally tight Tipp backs were unable to cope with his pace.

The ever reliable Eoin Kelly put over Tipp’s first score from play with a sweet strike with one foot on the sideline and one foot on the 45 yard line to leave the sides level at 0-2 apiece.

Not long after Tipp hit the front with another Kelly free before the men from the West stormed back with a sweeping score from midfield from Kevin Hynes.

Any score that had been registered so far was soon surpassed by Richie Murray’s mammoth 95-yard effort.

But Galway ‘keeper was not to be outdone as he stepped up to sling a fantastic point over from further out than Murray, making his the  first goalkeeper to score in the league so far this year.

A Kelly free left Tipp one behind before Galway went two points ahead again with a beautiful Damien Hayes point.

Soon after a magic score from Kelly brough the Tipp faithful to their feet as he fetched, turned and scored with aplomb.

This was a match of the highest order and the two teams were serving up play from the very top drawer with skill on show that would rival any high-quality championship encounter.

With 22 minutes gone Galway led by 0-6 to 0-5 and a fourth point from play from Damien Hayes pushed the men in maroon in front by a single point after Kelly had pointed a free for Tipp. 

Seamus Butler then stepped up to put over his first score from play before Galway brought on the steadying influence of Alan Kerins for Niall Healy.

Not long after Benny Dunne’s poor shot from out the field bounced in front of the Galway goal and totally deceived Skehill as it trickled into the net to give the Tipp men a two point lead that was soon stretched to three points when Kelly pointed a free to bring his first-half haul to seven points.

But the drama had not ended in the first half and after some fine attacking work by Canning the ball was scrambled to the net by Fergal Healy to leave the sides level at 1-8 apiece.

Tipperary though were to enter the tunnel in the ascendancy as Lar Corbett pointed just before Barry Kelly blew the whistle for half-time.

The second-half was as fine a half of hurling as you are likely to see. Lar Corbett opened up the scoring for Tipp with a score from play before Canning replied with a point from a free.

The 19-year-old was now in charge of placed balls due to the departure of Ger Farragher at half-time. As well as this Galway manager, Ger Loughnane replaced Richie Murray with David Forde.

Soon after a tap down from Thurles Sarsfields’s clubman Lar Corbett on the 21-yard-line let Willie Ryan in on goal and he made no mistake as he rattled the Tribesmen’s net to leave the Premier County four points in front.

But Tipp’s lead was soon decimated as Galway sub Aongus Callanan raised the green flag after some great forward play from the impressive Damien Hayes.

Soon after Galway had a great opportunity to steal ahead but Brendan Cummins smothered Damien Hayes just as he was about to tap the ball to the net.

A marvellous score followed from the energetic Shane McGrath to leave the score at 2-11 to 2-10 after 49 minutes.

Canning soon levelled the scores with another free before Seamus Butler got his second point from play soon to be followed up by his third to leave the Tipp men two points ahead.

Butler seemed to be coming into his own now and was finding space in which to show off his undoubted talent.

The game then turned on its head when man-of-the-match pounced on a loose ball to flash the ball past James Skehill in the Galway goal.

Corbett was not finished and he slotted over a point only seconds later to bring his total for the day to 1-3.

Toomevara’s Willie Ryan then split the posts with a sweet, sweet score to leave the score at 3-15 to 2-12.

But with Joe Canning in your team you are never out of contention and the precocious Portumna teenager soon showed why his services were so desperately required by Loughnane when he used all his strength and skill to put a bulge in Brendan Cummins’ net.

The scoreboard now read 3-16 to 3-12 and Canning soon brought his side to within a goal of Liam Sheedy’s side with a simple free.

However, Tipperary were not going to let this one slip and Butler once again emerged from the shadows of Kelly and Corbett to sweep over his fifth point of the day.

Kevin Hynes replied with a point for Galway before Canning, with another free brought Galway within two of the Munstermen.

Hynes had the Tipp faithful biting their fingernails when he pointed to leave the bare minimum between the sides but it was Drom-Inch’s Seamus Butler that was to have the final say with his sixth point from play, a score that handed Tipperary their 19th league title on a scoreline of 3-18 to 3-16.

People will now inevitably be talking of the Premier County as genuine All-Ireland contenders as the last time they tasted glory on the first Sunday in September they took in the league on their way,

But a long championship campaign lies ahead for both sides and maybe they will meet at the business end of things further on in the year when the ultimate prize will be the Liam McCarthy Cup.

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