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Canning calls out Galway's 'doubters', O'Donnell's wonder goal and Clare miss their chance

5 talking points after Galway’s All-Ireland semi-final replay win over Clare in Thurles.

Kevin O’Brien reports from Semple Stadium

1. Galway return to the All-Ireland final

IT TOOK THEM a while to finally shake off Clare and the game wasn’t decided until the clock went past 76 minutes, but Galway are into their third All-Ireland final since 2015.

Fans celebrate with Joe Canning after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

They’ll play Limerick in a novel final pairing. It will be the first contest between the sides in a decider since 1980, when the Tribesmen prevailed by 2-15 to 3-9.

Micheal Donoghue’s outfit are just 70 minutes away from retaining their All-Ireland crown and will appear in successive finals for the first time since 1988. It’s taken them eight games to get to the All-Ireland final, which is a record.

Clare will find it hard to shake the feeling of a missed opportunity of making their first final since 2013. After a dreadful start they came back roaring into the contest and might have snuck it at the death. Still, they’ve reestablished themselves a major hurling power and need to back it up in 2019.

2. Clare’s missed chances

Clare’s character will rightly be applauded after they ran the All-Ireland champions to the wire, but their old Achilles heel of wasteful shooting was ultimately their undoing.

The shot 19 wides while Aron Shanagher missed a double goal chance after 67 minutes. The hero with an extra-time goal in the drawn game, Shanagher’s first shot bounced off James Skehill and the rebound hit the post and was cleared.

Aron Shanagher hits the post late on Aron Shanagher hits the post late on Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Aron Shanagher hits the post late on Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

And in their post-game debrief, the Banner will be wondering why they started so badly against Galway in both games. Galway led by 1-7 to 0-1 after 16 minutes last weekend and 1-9 to 0-3 20 minutes into this contest

Clare left themselves with a mountain to climb on both days. Much of that might be down to Galway rather than Clare. The Leinster champions also enjoyed a flying start against Kilkenny, racing ahead by 1-9 to 0-1 before they were hauled back in by the Cats.

3. Donoghue’s smart tactical changes

Galway didn’t go long to Jonathan Glynn anywhere as often as they did in the drawn game, choosing instead to run the ball through the middle. Conor Whelan lined out at centre-forward but played a roving role and drifted left and right.

Jonathan Glynn with David McInerney Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Because of Whelan’s threat, his marker Jamie Shanahan had to follow him and it left space down the middle for Joe Canning and David Burke to exploit.

Padraic Mannion replaced the injured Gearoid McInerney at centre-back and had a storming game. He dominated the airwaves as did wing-back Joseph Cooney, who dropped back from the half-forward line in McInerney’s absence.

McInerney took full a part in the warm-up and looked to be moving fine, so Galway will be optimistic he’ll be fully fit for the final.

4. The Shane O’Donnell wonder goal

Peter Duggan bagged a brilliant goal for Clare in the second period, but it was overshadowed by Shane O’Donnell’s stunning three-pointer earlier in the half. It arrived at a stage where Clare were 1-11 to 0-7 behind and in desperate need of a lifeline.

O’Donnell had become one of Clare’s real leaders this season and he provided the catalyst for their second-half fightback. The goal displayed so many of O’Donnell’s best qualities.

Shane O’Donnell celebrates scoring a goal Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Shane O’Donnell celebrates scoring a goal Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

His flick-up and spin took him past John Hanbury. Then he showed strength and balance to hold off Daithi Burke’s challenge. He side-stepped past the retreating Hanbury again and just when he had a sight on goal midfielder David Burke came across ready to block the Eire Og ace.

O’Donnell spotted Burke just in time and dummied a shot before striking it on the half-volley past James Skehill. Even his celebration was top class.

5. Joe Canning calls out Galway’s doubters

Joe Canning made some interesting comments in his post-game interview with Sky Sports, remarking that Galway were not given enough respect coming into the replay.

“It’s great to get over the line eventually,” he said. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks even with the Leinster final going to a replay as well. Physically and emotionally, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster, getting to the semi-final and you don’t really expect it to [go to a replay].

“You’re preparing yourself for either a win or a loss, the replay doesn’t come into it. Just delighted we got over the line today.

“We felt as a group, we didn’t get too much respect. Clare only led last week for only one time in the match, and they didn’t lead at all today. We had five of our key players missing in extra-time last week as well, and they couldn’t finish it off. We thought ourselves that we didn’t get enough respect coming into today.

“We wanted to set a marker, but they’re a great team. They’re hungry and fresh to get back to an All-Ireland. But like ourselves we were hungry as well, we had a lot of doubters outside our group, even in our home county. It’s just great that we quietened a few today.”

Elite sportsmen often use perceived injustices as motivation and Canning is no different.

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Galway survive thrilling finish to squeeze past Clare and return to the All-Ireland final

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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