Galway and Tipperary will meet next Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds for the National Hurling League title, after the two emerged victorious in their semi-finals today. Here are five takeaways from the day’s action.
Limerick don’t back it up
Not since 2013 have Limerick won two consecutive games against top tier opposition. Over the last two years, the Treaty have ventured further and further away from the All-Ireland contender conversation.
After another League campaign without promotion, John Kiely’s side badly needed a result away to Cork in the quarter-final, and to their credit they delivered.
A win at home to Galway would back it up, but a loss has reaffirmed the doubt surrounding the side.
Despite some admirable defending throughout today’s game, they finished second-best in the physical exchanges throughout.
13 scores in the 70 minutes is not enough at this level if you want to compete for national titles. A tally of 17 wides tells its own story.
Galway are warming up nicely
Today wasn’t a classic, but Galway won comfortably.
In a strange way, the loss to Wexford earlier in the year could be the making of this Galway team. The Tribesmen have come through nicely under the radar, and seem to be gathering momentum with each passing game.
This League has been a fruitful one for Galway, and Mícheál Donoghue seems to have found the best positions for several key members of the squad.
Johnny Coen and David Burke represent a solid midfield, while Cathal Mannion and Conor Cooney looked more than capable of posing a sufficient threat in the full-forward line to free up Joe Canning to do damage further out the field.
Having not won a title since the 2012 Leinster Championship, Canning and Co. ought to go all out for the decider next week.
Wexford can hold their heads high
The general sentiment going into today was that if Wexford could go toe-to-toe with the Premier, they would be in a good place heading into the Championship, regardless of the result.
Early on in the game, it looked like that wasn’t going to be the case. Tipp rattled the net twice, but the Yellowbellies fronted up.
Shaun Murphy was once again influential in defence, while Lee Chin dictated play further up the field.
Wexford weren’t the first team to be beaten by Tipp this year, and they won’t be the last.
The objective for the spring was to win promotion and remain competitive in the knock-out stages. Next up is an assault on the Leinster Championship.
Tipp top of the pile
Wexford brought the game to the All-Ireland champions today, but Michael Ryan’s side had an extra gear going down the home stretch.
John and Noel McGrath were immense in attack, while Padraic and Ronan Maher put on a masterful performance in defence.
5-17 from play will win you most games, as they sent out a message to the rest of the country. Michael Breen and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer came off the bench, while Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher is yet to return. Things are looking ominous for the rest of the country.
Davy not chilling the beans
It made for good television. Everybody will have a laugh after the game. “Did you see what Davy’s done now?”
The fact of the matter is that a manager has no place on the field of play, especially not trying to remonstrate with the referee nor to confront opposition players.
Sure, the referee missed a foul in the build-up to the second Wexford goal, but Davy crossed a line.