Next up Dublin as Galway hurlers move closer to Leinster final

Galway's Declan McLoughlin and Antrim's Paul Boyle
 in action from the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship game at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. 
Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galway's Declan McLoughlin and Antrim's Paul Boyle in action from the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship game at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

The Galway senior hurlers took another step towards a Leinster final appearance with an all too comfortable win over Antrim in Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

The game’s outcome put to bed before the half-time whistle had sounded as Conor Whelan’s brace of first-half goals lit up an otherwise drab encounter after Antrim had enjoyed a blistering start with a second-minute Conal Cunning penalty strike.

Darren Gleeson set up his side to defend in numbers and this disrupted Galway’s attacking rhythm for a time, but eventually they overpowered their plucky opponents, who also had one eye on their final outing against Westmeath.

Perhaps the most significant, and concerning sight of the day was Cathal Mannion slowly trudging off the field after only seven minutes of play. Mannion never looked to be moving freely, a recurrence of a niggling hamstring injury that could rule the former All-Star out of action for the upcoming provincial matches.

Fintan Burke was also forced off with a knock to the head, with Shefflin hopeful it was not too serious. Thoughts quickly turned to a what is in essence a Leinster semi-final against Dublin next weekend, with Galway needing to avoid defeat to progress.

“We would envisage next weekend as a knockout game,” said Shefflin. “We want to qualify for the Leinster final, and Dublin want to qualify for the Leinster final. It should be set up for a very good battle between the sides. That bit of pressure is starting to come.

“We’re going to see, it’s all nice and dandy up to now. The pressure is ratcheting up a notch now, but we’ll look forward to that challenge. We’ll recover properly this week and get our homework done and look forward to next Sunday.”

Dublin will come into the Croke Park fixture (2pm throw-in ) on the back of a six-point loss away to Kilkenny last Saturday, 0-27 to 0-21, a game in which the home side kept them at arm’s length for much of the contest and hit six unanswered points late in the game.

Micheál Donoghue will be taking the positives from their recent win over Wexford at headquarters, plus the fact that a bigger than normal home crowd can be expected given the Dublin footballers take on Roscommon afterwards at 4pm.

Galway should thrive in this environment, though, with Whelan in rich goal-scoring form and Conor Cooney appearing to be coming back into form. Donal Burke will need minding, but Dublin do not possess enough firepower to disrupt the Tribesmen’s provincial ambitions.

Galway: É Murphy; J Grealish, G McInerney, D Morrissey; P Mannion (0-2 ), D Burke, F Burke; J Cooney (0-2 ), C Mannion; R Glennon, E Niland (0-8, 3fs, 1 ’65 ), C Cooney (0-7 ); K Cooney (1-2 ), C Whelan (2-0 ), D McLoughlin (0-4 ). Subs: T Monaghan (1-2 ) for C Mannion (7 ), TJ Brennan (0-1 ) for F Burke (15 ), C. Fahy for Glennon (48 ), A. Tuohey (0-1 ) for D. Burke (53 ), L. Collins (1-0 ) for Whelan (53 ), J Ryan for J. Cooney (63 ).

Referee: M. Kennedy (Tipperary ).

 

Page generated in 0.2294 seconds.