Offaly show heart, but Galway record convincing win
16:28, 17 Jun 2012
Galway 5-23 Offaly 3-15
Galway and Offaly produced a game of pace, intensity and a host of cracking scores at Portlaoise today.
They registered three goals in the opening eight minutes, and while that rate of net-bulging was never going to be sustained, and any doubt about the result was removed after 45 minutes, there was still not let-up in the efforts of both sides.
After Conor Cooney scored two goals inside 60 seconds, Galway endured a ropey period that saw Offaly thunder back into the game. But Anthony Cunningham's crew wrested control back again and led at half time by 4-11 to 1-10.
Five successive points after the resumption put the game to bed. But for the excellence of goalkeeper James Dempsey, who made two brilliant saves - one a barely believable stop from Jonathan Glynn's point-blank range shot - it would have been an even bigger rout, although Offaly showed their heart with two magnificent goals themselves.
Galway had too much in the locker for Ollie Baker's side though and while they are far from the finished product, this embryonic outfit is certainly very good to watch.
What's more, they scored 5-23 with Joe Canning having a frustrating day that saw him score only two points from play. The Portumna man did finish with 0-11 mind you as he got the radar working from placed balls after a poor start. He looks fit and there was no questioning his workrate, as he set up Davy Glennon for a late goal. It is frightening to think what Galway could do if the ball falls better for him than it did on this occasion.
Cooney benefited from unsure defensive work by Offaly captain David Kenny as he rattled the net in the third and fourth minutes but both were excellent finishes off the stick.
Galway goalkeeper James Skehill sent a hand-pass straight to Shane Dooley within another minute though and the Tullamore sharpshooter made no mistake to make it 2-0 to 1-0.
Dempsey was unlucky in the eighth minute though, as he save a rasper from the excellent Cyril Donnellan, but David Burke flew in to bundle the sliotar over the line.
Undeterred by such a terrible start, Offaly hit the next five points to get within one of Galway. Dooley converted a free and a 65 before the eye-catching Conor Mahon, Derek Morkan and Joe Bergin raised further white flags.
That was ast close as they got though as Galway notched up eight of the next nine points courtesy of Donnellan, Iarla Tannian, Damien Hayes and Canning to stretch the gap to eight.
Scores from Dooley and Colin Egan reduced that to five but a wonderfully-constructed goal involving Cooney, Burke and Hayes, ended with the latter blasting to the net in the 35th minute and Galway never looked back.
Hayes landed an early point before Canning sent over from three 65s and a free to put 15 points between the sides.
Derek Molloy hit a brilliant Paul Flynn-style dipping goal to give Offaly supporters something to cheer about, and Dooley found the net from a 20m free.
But Cunningham emptied his bench and one of his subs, Davy Glennon took a pass from Canning to goal right on the 70th minute.
Molloy had a shot tipped over by Skehill in the last act of the game and Galway progress to a Leinster final meeting against either Dublin or All-Ireland champions Kilkenny.
Galway: J Canning 0-11(5fs, 4 65s); C Cooney 2-0; D Hayes 1-3; D Burke 1-1; C Donnellan 0-3; D Glennon 1-0; I Tannian 0-2; N Burke, J Regan, T Haran 0-1 each
Offaly: S Dooley 2-7(1-3fs, 0-2 65s); D Molloy 1-1; C Mahon, J Bergin C Egan 0-2 each; D Morkan 0-1
Galway: J Skehill; N Donohue, K Hynes, F Moore; J Cooney, T Óg Regan, J Coen; I Tannian, A Smith; D Burke, N Burke, C Donnellan; D Hayes, J Canning, C Cooney. Subs: P Gordon for Donohue (31); J Glynn for N Burke (50); J Regan for C Cooney (55); T Haran for Tannian (60); D Glennon for Donnellan (64)
Offaly: J Dempsey; D Kenny, D Horan, J Rigney; D Franks, R Hanniffy, D Morkan; B Carroll, K Brady; C Egan, C Mahon, B Murphy; S Dooley, J Bergin, C Parlon. Subs: C Hernon for Egan blood (33-35); D Molloy for Franks (ht); C McDonald for Kenny (41); S Ryan for Carroll (48); Hernon for Mahon (55)
Referee: C McAllister (Cork)