Bank Holiday Sunday sorrow for Cork in the league final when Canning dominated

Bank Holiday Sunday sorrow for Cork in the league final when Canning dominated
John Gardiner is fouled for the penalty by Galway's Andy Smith and Ollie Canning during the 2010 league final at Semple Stadium. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

10 years ago... National Hurling League final:

Galway 2-22 Cork 1-17

THE 7pm throw-in on the Sunday of the May Bank Holiday was one of the main talking points ahead of the Division 1 decider in Thurles.

But, by the time Wexford referee James Owens called a halt to proceedings, few in the 14,200 crowd could crib at the entertainment produced by two teams who went at it hammer and tongs from the off.

The pattern was set inside two minutes, when Galway opened the scoring with a stunning goal from Damien Hayes.

Michael Cussen and Ben O’Connor chipped away at the lead and by the 18th minute the sides were level at 1-3 to 0-6.

Then came an important moment in the tie, as Galway keeper Colm Callanan produced a magnificent double save to frustrate the best efforts of Tom Kenny and then Cathal Naughton.

Cork eventually a found way past the inspirational Callanan with O’Connor setting up Naughton, whose pace took him beyond the defence and he finished with a clinical kick to the corner of the net.

Cathal Naughton celebrates scoring his goal. Picture: INPHO/Donall Farmer
Cathal Naughton celebrates scoring his goal. Picture: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Cork’s joy was shortlived, however, because Galway replied almost immediately, Joe Canning grabbing Donal Barry’s pass, rounding full-back Eoin Dillon, and giving Donal Óg Cusack no chance with a powerful drive.

Everyone needed a breather at the interval as Galway turned around 2-12 to 1-11 in front, remarkable scoring for counties with important championship dates looming at the end of the month.

Joe Canning has his hurley held by Cork full-back Eoin Dillin on his way to scoring Galway's second goal. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Joe Canning has his hurley held by Cork full-back Eoin Dillin on his way to scoring Galway's second goal. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Canning’s goal put Galway in the driving seat and despite a lot of Cork pressure in the second-half they were unable to penetrate a solid rearguard in which Tony Óg Regan was in impressive form at centre-back.

Canning and Aidan Harte improved Galway’s position with a couple of early points on the resumption and the closest Cork got was four points.

Any time Cork sensed an opportunity Callanan came to his team’s rescue, most notably, when diverting a Patrick Horgan penalty over the crossbar.

Ollie Canning, Patrick Horgan and Aisake under the dropping ball. Picture: Martina McGilloway
Ollie Canning, Patrick Horgan and Aisake under the dropping ball. Picture: Martina McGilloway

One many talking points in the aftermath concerned the Cork attack ahead of the Munster showdown with Tipperary (Galway taking on Wexford the same day in Leinster).

The half-forward line of Michael Cussen, captain Kieran Murphy, and Naughton had their moments, but generally couldn’t disturb an impressive Galway half-back line.

Full-forward Aisake Ó hAilpín had a couple of goal-scoring opportunities, Galway full-back and captain Shane Kavanagh producing a timely block in the first instance.

Cork lost their own full-back Eoin Cadogan through injury before the game with Dillon taking over the role, but he found Canning on fire as the Galway superstar helped himself to 1-5 from play. He was almost unplayable on the evening.

The consolation for Cork was that they rebooted for the Munster championship, upsetting the odds against Tipp and reaching the Munster final. Though they were beaten in the provincial final replay, on a Saturday night, after extra time against Waterford.

Cork manager Denis Walsh and selectors against Galway during the Allianz NHL final at Semple stadium,Thurles. /Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork manager Denis Walsh and selectors against Galway during the Allianz NHL final at Semple stadium,Thurles. /Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Scorers for Cork: C Naughton 1-1, B O’Connor 0-4 (0-2 sideline), J Gardiner 0-3 (0-1 65), P Horgan 0-3 (0-1 pen), K Murphy and M Cussen 0-2 each, R Curran and J O’Connor 0-1 each

Galway: J Canning 1-5, G Farragher 0-6 (0-4 f, 0-1 65), D Hayes 1-1, A Harte 0-3, A Smith and J Gantley 0-2, I Tannian, D Burke and C Donnellan 0-1 each

CORK: D Óg Cusack; S O’Neill, E Dillon, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, S Óg Ó hAilpín; T Kenny, L McLoughlin; M Cussen, K Murphy (c), C Naughton; B O’Connor, A Ó hAilpín, P Horgan.

Subs: M Walsh for S Óg Ó hAilpín (49), J O’Connor for McLoughlin (49), P O’Sullivan for K Murphy (58).

GALWAY: C Callanan; D Joyce, S Kavanagh (c), O Canning; D Barry, T Og Regan, D Collins; D Burke, G Farragher; D Hayes, C Donnellan, A Smith; A Harte, J Canning, T Tannian.

Subs: J Gantley for Tannian 53, K Hynee for Smith 62, A Callanan for Burke injured 68.

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).

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