All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifier – Cork 1-17 Galway 1-16

Cork defeated Galway by 1-17 to 1-16 in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on Saturday at Croke Park.

Cork advance after Galway thriller

Report from the GAA.ie web site

All-Ireland Football Championship Round 4 Qualifier: Cork 1-17 Galway 1-16

Cork emerged from a compelling Round 4 qualifier against Galway at Croke Park on Saturday evening, but they were tested to the limit by an excellent display from the Tribesmen. Galway were inspired for long periods against the Rebels, and with Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong in brilliant form up front, it looked for a long time like Galway were set to produce what would have been one of the shocks of the championship. As well as the brilliance of Meehan and Armstrong, Manus Breathnach produced an inspired display in the Galway goals, making three outstanding saves to deny Cork at crucial periods. Those saves helped Galway lead 0-16 to 0-13 with less than 10 minutes to go but Cork found the net through Aidan Walsh to get back level, and then finished strongly to go four ahead.

Meehan thundered a brilliant free-kick into the net with the last kick of the game for Galway to reduce the gap to one, but it was too late for Alan Mulholland’s side, and Cork progressed to the All-Ireland quarter-finals once again. Galway lead 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time after a strong first half display. Cork took an early 0-2 to 0-1 lead following points from James Loughrey and Pearse O’Neill within the first five minutes. Walsh had a good chance for a goal for Cork in that period, but his powerful drive thundered off the crossbar and fizzed away. John O’Rourke edged Cork 0-3 to 0-1 ahead but Galway were growing in confidence, and points from experienced duo Armstrong and Meehan levelled up the sides at the end of an exciting opening 10 minutes.

The game tapered off a little from there though, and the sides could only add another three points apiece for the next 20 minutes. Meehan and Armstrong were showing very well for Galway up front, while Cork had a fine spread of scorers – they had seven in total in the first half. Cork had a good chance for a goal when Pearse O’Neill steamed through on 22 minutes, but his low shot was brilliantly saved by Breathnach, and the Tribesmen continued to improve as the half went on, moving into a 0-8 to 0-6 lead following more scores from Meehan and Armstrong. Cork’s Brian Hurley completed the first half scoring with a free to leave just a point between the sides at the interval. Galway made a brilliant start to the second half, and although Cork levelled through a Goulding free at the resumption, Galway quickly got on top and made it count on the scoreboard.

Points from Armstrong and Meehan edged Galway two ahead, and then Conor Doherty and Michael Martin kicked over two superb scores to leave Galway 0-13 to 0-8 ahead with 46 minutes played. Martin’s effort was a sumptuous effort from way out under the Hogan Stand. Two more superb saves from Breathnach denied Cork goals in the third quarter. First, he made a brilliant block to keep out an effort from Mark Collins when the Castlehaven man was clean through, and then he denied Hurley with an equally brave effort.

Galway seemed inspired by his efforts, and after Cork had hit two frees to cut the Galway lead, Galway wing-back Gary Sice stormed up the left wing to make it 0-14 to 0-11 with less than 15 minutes to go. Points from Goulding and Sheehan cut the gap to one for Cork, but with Meehan and Armstrong combining beautifully in attack, they added two points in rapid succession to send Galway 0-16 to 0-13 ahead with 62 minutes played. Cork were determined though, and finally found the net their attacking play had deserved on 66 minutes. After striking the post, Cork kept the ball in play and Walsh did brilliantly to palm Pearse O’Neill’s pass over Breathnach’s head and into the net.

That goal was followed by four points in a row, from O’Neill, Goulding, Sheehan and full-back Michael Shields, who scored an incredible individual score after soloing almost the entire length of the pitch. It looked as though that would be it, but Galway were given a chance with a close range free at the end, and despite the Rebels crowding the line with at least 10 players, Meehan did brilliantly to squeeze his shot into the top right hand corner. However, there was no time left and the whistle went with Alan Quirke’s kick-out. It was an excellent effort from Galway, but it’s Cork who will be back in Croke Park next weekend.

***

Scorers for Cork: D Goulding 0-5 (4f), A Walsh 1-0, C Sheehan 0-2, B Hurley 0-2 (2f), P O’Neill 0-2, J Loughrey 0-1, J O’Rourke 0-1, A Walsh 0-1, D Cahalane 0-1 (1 ’45), M Collins 0-1, M Shields 0-1

Scorers for Galway: M Meehan 1-6 (1-3f), S Armstrong 0-4 (1f), P Conroy 0-2, D Cummins 0-1, C Doherty 0-1, M Martin 0-1, G Sice 0-1

Cork: A Quirke; E Cadogan, M Shields, T Clancy; D Cahalane, G Canty, J Loughrey; A O’Connor, P O’Neill; M Collins, A Walsh, J O’Rourke; D Goulding, C Sheehan, B Hurley. Subs: P Kerrigan for J O’Rourke (44), P Kissane for J Loughrey (47), D O’Connor for B Hurley (53), P Kelly for A O’Connor (58), J O’Sullivan for T Clancy (60).

Galway: M Breathnach; D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Duane; S Denvir, G O’Donnell, G Sice; P Conroy, T Flynn; J O’Brien, S Armstrong, C Doherty; M Martin, M Meehan, D Cummins. Subs: S Walsh for D Cummins (23), M Farragher for J O’Brien (53), F Ó Curraoin for T Flynn (54), A Varley for M Martin (58)

Team News

The Cork Senior Football team to play Galway in Croke Park at 5pm on Saturday has been named as follows:

1. Alan Quirke

2. Eoin Cadogan 3. Michael Shields 4. Thomas Clancy

5. Damien Cahalane 6. Graham Canty 7. James Loughrey

8. Alan O’Connor 9. Pearse O’Neill

10. Mark Collins 11. Aidan Walsh 12. John O’Rourke

13. Daniel Goulding 14. Ciaran Sheehan 15. Brian Hurley

Subs

16 Ken O’Halloran Bishopstown

17 John Mc Loughlin Kanturk

18 Tomás Clancy Fermoy

19 Noel O’Leary Cill na Martra

20 Jamie O’Sullivan Bishopstown

21 Paudie Kissane Clyda Rovers

22 Andrew O’Sullivan Castletownbere

23. Fintan Goold Macroom

24. Patrick Kelly Ballincollig

25. Paul Kerrigan Nemo Rangers

26. Donncha O’Connor Ballydesmond

There are six changes to the team that lost out to Kerry in the Munster Final; Alan Quirke, Thomas Clancy, Alan O’Connor, Pearse O’Neill, Mark Collins and Ciarán Sheehan come in, with Ken O’Halloran, Noel O’Leary, Paudie Kissane, Fintan Goold, Paul Kerrigan and Donncha O’Connor dropping to the bench.

Galway: Manus Breathnach, Donal O’Neill, Finian Hanley, Johnny Duane, Seán Denvir, Gary O’Donnell, Gary Sice, Paul Conroy, Thomas Flynn, John O’Brien, Sean Armstrong, Conor Doherty, Michael Martin, Michael Meehan, Danny Cummins

Match Preview

Despite being two of the blue-chip football counties, Cork and Galway is one of the quieter rivalries around, with the record books showing just five championship meetings between the sides since 1973.

Their last clash was also at the quarter-final stage of the competition in 2005, when the Rebels won by 2-14 to 2-11. Both teams have moved on considerably since then – in terms of personnel at least – with Michael Meehan, Seán Armstrong and Finian Hanley Galway’s survivors and Graham Canty and Noel O’Leary still in place for Cork.

The simple truth of the matter is that for the losers on Saturday, their season will be judged as a failure. Galway have just about come around after their demolition by Mayo in the Connacht quarter-final, but qualifier wins over Tipperary, Waterford and Armagh won’t be enough to shield them from the critics if they lose.

After struggling against Tipp and Waterford, at least Alan Mulholland’s side showed some zip in the 1-11 to 0-9 defeat of Armagh, although the Orchard County hadn’t exactly set the competition alight (the eight-goal mauling of a demoralised Leitrim aside) prior to that. And yet, after a remarkably poor sequence of defeats in the qualifiers dating back to 2004, the Tribesmen have now strung three wins together in the back door and it’s impossible to measure the benefits they will have gained in gathering that momentum.

In theory, Cork should present a similar challenge to the one Galway failed so miserably against Mayo, but the Rebels have looked a pale shadow of themselves this year. Big wins over Limerick and Clare were poor preparation for the Munster final against Kerry, and Conor Counihan’s side drowned in the first half in Killarney before finally mustering a comeback that fell short in the second half.

Counihan has made a whopping six changes from the Kerry game, but the selected line-out is likely to change before throw-in. Cork have named Pearse O’Neill and Alan O’Connor in midfield after their arrival against Kerry sparked the revival. They’ll need to be at their best against Paul Conroy and Tom Flynn. Mark Collins and Ciarán Sheehan also come into a new-look attack.

Cork are aiming to reach the All-Ireland quarter-final for the ninth successive year, while Galway haven’t been in the last eight since 2008, when they lost an epic to Kerry. Remarkably, Galway are also looking to win a championship game at Croke Park for the first time since the 2001 All-Ireland final.