Galway in Final

GALWAY qualified for the NHL final and a date with Cork when they accounted for Dublin by a score of 0-17 to 0-15 in Pearse Stadium on Sunday in a game that saw a player from both sides red carded.

Dublin defender Tomas Brady and Galway forward Cyril Donnellan were sent off before halftime as referee Barry Kelly drew ire from both sides.

“I just felt the referee was inconsistent. It was a harsh sending off for the two boys for a bit of a shemozzle in the goalmouth,” Galway boss John McIntyre said afterwards.

“Both myself and Anthony Daly went to Barry Kelly at halftime and we were pleading with him that it was a man’s game. That might sound a bit trite but it really is.

“I felt it was extremely harsh in the circumstances, I know Cyril Donnellan and I’ll stand over him as a sportsman. They are two honest fellas, not fellas for fighting if you look at their careers.”

Dublin boss Anthony Daly added, “It was unbelievable, totally inconsistent; maybe the game is being let go more. That’s probably the way it’s gone, is it? Let things go, let backs swing out of forwards.”

Daly, whose side now faces a relegation battle with Limerick in their next game, was happier with the way his side played in Galway.

He continued, “I thought it was a massively spirited display. It looked at half-time as if it were the case of how much Galway would win by, but the lads rallied inside and we gave it one unmerciful go.

“It is probably a bit unjust that we are in this situation but if we can’t beat Limerick then we don’t deserve to stay up.”

Cork in Final

A 1-16 to 1-15 victory over Tipperary was twice as sweet for Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday as they booked their NHL final place and set down a marker against their Munster SHC opponents.

Cork’s last league game against their final opponents Galway is now meaningless, and manager Denis Walsh may well use it to look at some of his fringe players.

Walsh said, “It means we can look more seriously at lads who were half injured and give fellas more game time. I’m sure Galway will do the same.

“We spoke about shadow boxing in this game against Tipperary and I’m sure there’ll be some bit of shadow boxing the next day against Galway.

“We said going into this game that we felt it was a step up, no disrespect to the other games, but we felt today was a step up in the intensity and sharpness and that’s how it turned out.

“You either respond like we responded after 10 minutes of the second half or you don’t. You have to have courage and commitment and no little skill to respond like we did.”

Tipp coach Liam Sheedy said, “We were very lucky to be only four points down at half-time. Cork had done the bulk of the hurling but we had some heroic defending by the backs to keep to 11-7. We were still in the game and in fairness the lads responded in the second half.”

Kilkenny wins

Kilkenny got back to winning ways with an easy 2-17 to 0-16 NHL victory over Limerick’s youngsters at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.

“It was a decent game. It was competitive,” said Kilkenny boss Brian Cody. “We built up a small bit of a cushion up to halftime but Limerick were very competitive right through the game and up to the very end.

“To me, obviously Limerick are short players, but the players who were out there are very decent hurlers and there’s a good spirit.”

Limerick did try hard in the second half as under pressure manager Justin McCarthy acknowledged.

He said, “The main thing is with any team at halftime not to lose heart, number one, and not lose concentration, and then to be up for it again.

“So there was no drop of the heads. We asked them to fight like hell, go for the ball and take risks, take chances.

“It’s all a learning process. This team’s for the future.”

Waterford Wins

Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald was critical of his players despite their three-point win over Offaly in the NHL on Sunday.

“There were some absolutely crazy mistakes and over elaboration and trust me, we’ll sort that out during the week! They’ll know not to bother packing buckets and spades,” said Fitzgerald ahead of his team’s warm weather training camp in Portugal.

“I’m actually happy the way it turned into a battle because it showed we have the character to fight our way out of trouble but we’re a mile off championship pace.”

Offaly coach Joe Dooley said, “I’m disappointed to lose but very proud of them. It was a big step-up from last week and probably we could hurl with more freedom because the pressure wasn’t on us, while Waterford were still playing to make the league final.”