1980 Hurling league semi-final: Cork 1-12 Galway 0-12
FORTY years ago Cork hurlers qualified for their first league final in six years after a hard-fought semi-final victory over Galway at the Gaelic Grounds.
The other semi-final was won by Limerick, who were inspired by Joe McKenna in a 2-13 to 1-11 win over Tipperary in the first game of the double-header.
The Rebels would go on to land the league but didn't follow up with a Munster victory during an era when they'd land 10 provincial titles in 12 years.
Cork always looked to have the measure of their Galway opponents in the league semi, leading by five points with 10 minutes remaining, but had to withstand late pressure.
Blackrock goalkeeper Timmy Murphy came to rescue with a timely double save five minutes from the end of regulation time and there was also some hectic defending by the backs.
Cork owed their triumph to another Rockies man, midfielder Tom Cashman, who displayed his wonderful artistry, which included a point from a sideline cut, in the stand-out performance of the afternoon.
It was evident from the start that a certain ‘needle’ existed between the teams with Clare referee Jim Woods taking the names of seven players in the opening half, four from Galway, and also noting the name of a Galway official during the break.
Both captains, Dermot MacCurtain from Cork and Galway’s Joe Connolly, were spoken to by the under-pressure referee for the benefit of the two teams.
Despite playing against the strong wind from the start, Cork looked the more promising side, especially in attack and were magnificently marshalled by Johnny Crowley at centre-back, who gave Connolly no room with the skipper eventually switched mid-way through the opening period.
Cork led by 0-5 to 0-3 after 23 minutes with Seanie O’Leary almost claiming the first goal, but his shot struck a defender and out for a ’70, which corner-back John Horgan converted.
Jimmy Barry-Murphy forced a fine save from keeper Seamus Shinnors before Galway mounted a late rally to be on level terms, 0-6 apiece, at half-time.
Although Galway made an encouraging start to the second half with a couple of Connolly points, Cork pounced for the all-important goal after 36 minutes.
It was typical Ray Cummins’ opportunism as he reacted quickest of all to a fumble from Shinnors, who couldn’t hold a long-range from Horgan, and was in a like a flash to score.
Galway struggled as a consequence with Cashman’s growing influence becoming all too apparent for the westerners.
He pointed a sideline cut from 50 yards and then Cashman showed his class in open play, as well, twice finding the range with great scores from the middle of the pitch.
While Galway were over-reliant on Connolly’s free-taking for their scores, Cork carried too much of a threat all over the attack, highlighted by a brilliant Eamonn O’Donoghue point in the left corner and O’Leary also hitting the target.
That increased Cork’s advantage to 1-12 to 0-10 entering the closing 10 minutes, but they wouldn’t add to their tally as Galway tried everything to salvage the tie.
Substitute John Ryan and Iggy Clarke cut the deficit to a goal with four minutes remaining, Galway having been denied in between by keeper Murphy, who stopped Gerry Curtin’s shot before hooking the ball away as Bernie Forde raced in.
In the other game, McKenna top-scored with 1-4 and Eamon Grimes claimed the other Limerick goal.
Scorers for Cork: R Cummins 1-0, T Cashman 0-3 (0-1 sideline), P Horgan 0-3 (0-2 f), S O’Leary 0-2, T Crowley, E O’Donoghue, D Buckley, J Horgan (70) 0-1 each.
CORK: T Murphy; D Burns, B Murphy, J Horgan; D Coughlan, J Crowley, D MacCurtain (c); T Cashman, T Crowley; D Buckley, P Horgan, J Barry-Murphy; S O’Leary, R Cummins, E O’Donoghue.