Cork v Galway: Hurlers must end poor run to get back to the All-Ireland semi-final 

Rebels have lost their last four championship meetings with Galway and are without a win since the 2008 classic at Semple Stadium
Cork v Galway: Hurlers must end poor run to get back to the All-Ireland semi-final 

Cork's Seamus Harnedy with Antrim's Eoghan Campbell. The Rebels need him firing on all cylinders next weekend. Picture: INPHO/John McVitty

CORK haven’t beaten Galway in the championship since 2008, that electric night at Semple Stadium when Joe Deane gave one of his greatest displays, after Donal Óg Cusack’s dismissal.

They’ve lost four times since — in 2009, ‘11, ‘12, and ‘15 — and will need to up the ante from the victory over Antrim for next Saturday’s quarter-final at FBD Semple Stadium if they are to end that hoodoo. Like the trip to Corrigan Park, it’s an early throw-in time, 1.45pm in Thurles, but a strong support will be vital to the Rebels’ chances.

Henry Shefflin’s Galway didn’t especially impress in their Leinster final loss to Kilkenny, and Cork beat them early on in the league, but there will be nothing between the teams next weekend. Cork have the momentum of three wins in a row, but the intensity that beat Waterford and Tipp wasn’t evident in Belfast.

Kieran Kingston and his selectors didn’t take any chances at Corrigan Park, promoting Tim O’Mahony to the starting 15 ahead of talisman Patrick Horgan, and they were right to offer Antrim full respect, despite being overwhelming favourites.

The hosts were 2-11 to 2-10 up at half-time and had missed four very scoreable chances, including a couple of frees. O’Mahony — fouled for a penalty and a free that Conor Lehane converted and who was involved in Darragh Fitzgibbon’s goal — was a major handful for the Antrim defence early on, but after going four points up, Cork lost their way.

Granted, they were hurling into the teeth of a gale, but they were too casual in their distribution, starved O’Mahony and Connolly of possession inside, and only threatened through Robbie O’Flynn and Lehane. Ball carried into traffic was turned over and, even allowing for the value of the wind, Cork needed to tune in or be knocked out of the championship in humiliating fashion.

To give the management credit, they were ruthless in replacing Shane Kingston before half time and they got the defence to tackle with more ferocity in the second period, as they limited Antrim from play and never looked like conceding a third goal.

Fitzgibbon, Mark Coleman, and Harnedy were far more prominent in the closing 35 minutes, with Conor Cahalane adding a bit of bite to the half-forward line. They didn’t chase goals, instead curling over points from distance, including some gems from Lehane, Harnedy, and O’Flynn.

Patrick Horgan of Cork signs autographs after the win over Antrim. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Patrick Horgan of Cork signs autographs after the win over Antrim. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Patrick Horgan came on for his 70th championship appearance, and only his sixth as a sub. It puts him five ahead of Christy Ring on the all-time list in the ‘blood and bandages’ and he arrowed over two lovely points from play to mark it. 

He’s now struck a record-breaking 22-512 across his incredible career, 11 points more than Galway god Joe Canning.

Another sub, Jack O’Connor, offered a reminder of his blistering pace with a sensational drive down the left flank to set up Harnedy for an injury-time goal to put a gloss on the scoreline.

Shane Barrett didn’t feature here, having started in the opening rounds of the Munster championship, but he’s another weapon in reserve and Cork’s attacking options from the bench could be a major factor in the quarter-final against Galway. 

The Rebels have a decent record in All-Ireland quarter-finals, including over Dublin last summer, but lost two recently: Against Kilkenny in 2019 and that 2015 defeat to Galway when Damien Cahalane was red-carded.

Before that, there were wins over Kilkenny (2013), Waterford (2012 and 2005), Antrim (2010 and 2004), Clare (2008) and Limerick (2006), and disappointment, after a replay, against the Déise in 2007.

Overall, Cork have won eight, lost three, and drawn one of the 12 quarter-finals they’ve contested.

If they replicate their attitude in getting the better of Waterford at Walsh Park, a semi-final against Limerick, assuming Clare edge out Wexford, beckons.

The form of key players Fitzgibbon, Coleman, Harnedy, Lehane, and O’Flynn is certainly encouraging.


SATURDAY: All-Ireland quarter-finals: Cork v Galway, 1,45pm; Clare v Wexford, 3.45pm; Thurles.

SATURDAY, July 2: All-Ireland semi-final: Kilkenny v Cork, Clare or Wexford; Croke Park.

SUNDAY, July 3: All-Ireland semi-final: Limerick v Cork, Galway or Wexford; Croke Park.

SUNDAY, July 17: All-Ireland final: Croke Park.



Patrick Horgan 0-30 (0-21 f, 0-2 65); Conor Lehane 1-24 (1-0 pen, 0-5 f, 0-1 65); Alan Connolly 4-4; Seamus Harnedy 1-13; Darragh Fitzgibbon 3-6; Robbie O’Flynn 0-14; Shane Kingston 1-8; Tim O'Mahony 1-3; Mark Coleman 0-6 (0-2 f); Shane Barrett, Jack O'Connor 0-2; Pa Collins, Conor Cahalane Luke Meade 0-1.


Patrick Horgan 1-41 (0-32 f, 0-2 65); Shane Kingston 4-24 (0-14 f, 0-1 65); Conor Lehane 1-19 (0-6 f); Darragh Fitzgibbon 2-13; Mark Coleman 0-13 (0-8 f); Robbie O'Flynn 1-10; Shane Barrett 0-9; Alan Connolly, Tim O’Mahony 1-5; Seamus Harnedy 0-7; Ciarán Joyce 0-6 (0-1 65); Luke Meade 1-2; Rob Downey 0-3; Jack O'Connor, Mark Keane 0-2; Ger Millerick, Conor Cahalane, Colin O’Brien, Sam Quirke, Alan Cadogan, Padraig Power 0-1.

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