No jumping for joy in the victorious Galway campAugust 3, 2012 - 7:00am
PERHAPS, due to a succession of disappointments at senior level, Galway hurling supporters have become a bit too blasé about the strength of the minor teams the county has produced in recent years. On Sunday in Tullamore, Matt Murphy’s youngsters came in ‘cold’ to an All-Ireland quarter-final yet again and blitzed a hapless Wexford who never recovered from their barrage of early scores.
The Tribesmen were 2-4 to 0-1 ahead before anyone had time to draw breath and the passing, movement, and inter-play among the forwards and midfielders was sensational, as the men in maroon tore the Wexford challenge to shreds.
Nobody should be talking about a third All-Ireland in four years at this stage, as a highly-rated Tipperary lie in wait in the semi-final, but there was a class and conviction about this Galway performance which must have left the Wexford backroom team green with envy.
The Slaneysiders drafted in county legends Martin Storey and Liam Griffin in a bid to transform their fortunes at this level, but they could only look on in awe at the talent available to Murphy and his backroom team. This was a sensational introduction to the championship, against a team which had the benefit of four games in Leinster.
There was no jumping for joy in the Galway camp afterwards, only the quiet satisfaction of a job well done by players who were already turning their focus to bigger challenges to come within minutes of the final whistle.
“We made life difficult for ourselves in the second half, but look it, we got there in the end,” said delighted team captain Paul Killeen, full-back on last year’s title-winning side. “That was our first game and their fifth. But Havo (Michael Haverty) has us at the top of our toes.
He’s a serious trainer. Everything was sharp. The boys had everything prepared for us and it was just up to us on the day.
“We started really excellently. We really rattled them with a couple of early points and the goal really settled us. We have serious forwards. They are a nightmare to mark in training. Even the lads on the bench.
Jamie Ryan was unlucky. He was flying it and he hurt his hip and David Concannon came down on his ankle one day in training. There is going to be serious competition for places between now and the Tipp game.”
Killeen felt that the third Galway goal, brilliantly struck by wing forward Adrian Morrissey, effectively decided the issue 11 minutes into the second half.
Veteran manager Murphy has delivered six All-Ireland titles at this grade to the county and seems to have unearthed another fine batch of players this year, even though he was keen to point out afterwards that Tipperary will pose a far tougher challenge in the semi-final.
He had some sympathy for his Wexford rivals. “I suppose we got the start you’d dream about,” said Murphy. “Once we got the 2-3 or 2-4 on the board, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Wexford. You know, minors are funny animals. They can drop their heads easily enough.
“We went in 16 points up at half-time. That’s not a true reflection of where Wexford are at. Wexford are a good bit better than that. I have sympathy for them, because when I was playing underage hurling for Galway that was where we were at fairly often.”
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.