St Thomas’ players can add to Galway's test against Cork

Fresh from claiming their fourth Walsh Cup title and an opening round league win over Wexford last weekend, the Galway senior hurlers' next assignment is against Cork in Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon (2pm ).

Cork will arrive with something of a spring in their step after finishing strongly to record a stirring win over Limerick in front of a bumper crowd in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Saturday night. Pat Ryan’s side was transformed after half-time, quickly erasing an eight-point deficit, and there may well be a larger than expected cohort of travelling support from the Rebel County this weekend as a direct result.

The loss of Robbie O’Flynn from their forward unit is a major blow for Ryan. The Erin’s Owen club man bagged their opening goal and an assist for the second goal before an unfortunate injury, later diagnosed as a dislocated ankle, removed him from the action and further scans will be needed to assess just how long he will be out for.

Thankfully for Ryan, Patrick Horgan seems reinvigorated by the new management team and picked off four points from play alongside six placed balls, and with Ciarán Joyce in towering form at number six, Galway will have to be on their guard as Cork may be looking to settle on their best fifteen ahead of the championship rather than panel building.

Most of the drama in Wexford Park happened before the contest even started as the main stand was evacuated due to a fire, but thankfully only a 15 minute delay to the throw-in time was the outcome. Galway again fielded an experimental side, with the three Cooney brothers absent due to the sad passing of their grandmother Nora earlier in the week.

Wexford’s inefficiency in front of the posts in the first half, when the elements were in their favour, ultimately proved their downfall and allowed Galway to forge an unassailable lead during a dominant second-half display. From being level at half-time, Galway incredibly hit 10 unanswered points as Wexford continually gave away a multitude of frees which Evan Niland was able to convert.

Among those to perform well were Darren Morrissey, Jason Flynn, Gearóid McInerney, Conor Whelan, and Seán Linnane, while Brian Concannon and Liam Collins made an impact off the bench on an evening when nine Galway players registered scores from play, which allied to Niland’s placed ball accuracy, was enough to get over the line.

Henry Shefflin will surely rotate yet again as the St Thomas’ contingent come back into the reckoning for starting minutes, while last year’s captain Daithí Burke is also yet to sample playing time. Galway and Cork met twice last year, with the Rebels winning the League tie (1-26 to 0-23 ), while Galway won the championship encounter by a point (2-19 to 1-21 ). Thus, a solid performance is again the priority, but not allowing the Rebels to gather any further momentum would also be a nice bonus.

Galway: E Murphy; J Grealish, G McInerney, D Morrissey (0-1 ); E Lawless, P Mannion, TJ Brennan; T Killeen (0-1 ), S Linnane (0-1 ); T Monaghan (0-1 ), C Whelan (0-2 ), D O’Shea (0-1 ); E Niland (0-10, 9fs, 1 ‘65 ), J Mannion (0-1 ), J Flynn (0-1 ). Subs: R Murphy (0-1 ) for Killeen (30 ), B Concannon (0-1 ) for J Mannion (30 ), O Salmon for Brennan (30 ), L Collins (0-2 ) for O’Shea (60 ), J Fitzpatrick for McInerney (67 ).


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