Galway are still thereSeptember 11, 2012 - 7:00am
THE final whistle was greeted by a strange silence. A general air of eerie flatness permeated Croke Park. Nobody really knew what to do; how to feel.
We scarcely heard the last whistle blown in the All-Ireland senior hurling final, about 10 seconds before the allotted three minutes added-on were played, such was the excitement and tension. And then suddenly it’s over.
After one of the most absorbing, entertaining and emotionally draining senior deciders in years, the question was: Is that it?
We were waiting for something else to occur; then slowly trying to come to terms with having to do it all over again in the replay on Sunday, September 30. Will the ticker sustain another rollercoaster ride like this one?
Like in all stalemates, both Kilkenny and Galway would have regrets at the 0-19 to 2-13 score line. The main thing from the Tribesmen’s perspective is they’re still alive, still unbeaten in the championship, and still have another crack at glory. Not bad for a side that the experts felt had no hope going into it against the most decorated hurling team of all time.
Afterwards both camps were simultaneously deflated and disappointed and delighted and relieved. Both can feel lucky; both can feel they left Liam McCarthy behind them. Who should be more relieved?
Kilkenny, who looked like an old team, whose legs had gone, on the slide in the opening half, and who subsequently somehow went back to the well another time, and orchestrated an awesome comeback that again proved their greatness.
Or Galway, who established a five points interval lead – it should have been more – who were subsequently in trouble at the start of the second half, yet, unlike teams of the past 24 years, particularly in recent times, didn’t fold and somehow found a resilience and bottle and nerve to withstand the black and amber onslaught and cling on to earn another day out.
When Galway led 1-8 to 0-4, thanks to a sublime goal by Joe Canning that was set-up by immense hard work from James Regan, with just minutes before the half-time whistle, it felt a bit like the Leinster Final again.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.