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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Galway sweating over the fitness of Canning and McInerney ahead of Clare replay

Both players left the action with injuries today.

GALWAY BOSS MICHEAL Donoghue will spend the next couple of days counting the cost of their thrilling All-Ireland semi-final draw with Clare.

Joe Canning leaves the field the injured Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Croke Park bore witness to the first game where both teams scored 30 white flags each in an All-Ireland SHC game.

The sides now head to Thurles next weekend for the replay and Galway have worries over a few key men as they bid to make it back to a second successive All-Ireland final.

Galway players were dropping like flies during a game that lasted almost 100 minutes. By the final whistle, Joe Canning, Gearoid McInerney, David Burke, Adrian Tuohey and Conor Whelan were all sat in the dug-out behind Donoghue.

Daithi Burke somehow powered through the full game despite going over on his ankle during the week, although it was heavily strapped.

Injuries to McInerney and Canning look to be Donoghue’s biggest concerns. The centre-back departed the action on 53 minutes with what appeared to be a calf problem.

Canning went down after sustaining a heavy bang to the knee in the second-half. On the field prior to extra-time he received some physio work to both calf muscles.

“It’s too early yet,” said Donoghue on the injuries to McInerney and Canning. “I’ve hardly even seen them.

“I haven’t had time (to check). Hopefully there’s nothing too bad.”

A replay in Thurles looked extremely unlikely after the 16 minutes when Galway powered into a 1-7 to 0-1 lead. The Tribe’s very obvious tactic was to rain high ball on top of Jonathan Glynn who was surprisingly picked up by Pat O’Connor.

Jonathan Glynn with David McInerney and Patrick O’Connor Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The Galway goal arrived after a delivery into Glynn broke kindly into Conor Cooney’s path. Galway flying it, but Clare responded with a rejig that completely changed the momentum.

Colm Galvin was sent in as a sweeper in front of Glynn and Tony Kelly dropped into midfield. They pretty much left McInerney free at 6 and attacked down the flanks. By half-time, Clare were within four.

Galway would have been further ahead only for 12 wides in the opening period. Donoghue made half-time alterations, moving McInerney to wing-back to follow Peter Duggan, with Aidan Harte pitched in at centre-back.

David Burke finally started motoring at midfield in the second period and clipped over a brace but John Conlon started to give Daithi Burke serious issues in the Galway defence. Cooney went close to a second goal but was denied by a fine Donal Tuohy save.

Gearoid McInerney injured Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Canning’s shooting was pretty much flawless throughout. He hit 0-12 from 15 shots before his withdrawal, including six frees and a pair of exquisite sidelines.

Glynn remained a threat throughout and set-up Jason Flynn for Galway’s second last point. Flynn assumed free-taking duties from Canning when he went off and although he missed one free he chipped in with 0-2 during extra-time.

Johnny Coen missed a chance to win the game at the very end of normal-time when his point effort dropped into Tuohy’s paw. But the Loughrea midfielder held his nerve to push Galway ahead from a tricky angle in the second minute of stoppage-time at the end of the second period of extra-time.

“It was an epic encounter,” continued Donoghue. “We started well. Obviously we knew coming up that Clare were going to be a massive challenge and we got a good start and they came back well into the game and I think once they came back close to parity it just took a life of its own.

“Both teams probably had chances in normal time and similar in extra-time, but, look, I’m really proud of our lads, they worked really hard.”

Joe Canning scores a point Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The work-rate of the Galway forwards was evident in the tackle count, where they made 38 tackles compared with Clare’s 19. Cathal Mannion impressed with four points from wing-forward and Conor Whelan had his moments and worked tirelessly.

“Any time they got a setback they came back and got the scores when we needed them and, you know, we picked up a few knocks as well and the lads who came off the bench made a massive contribution.

“We just draw on our experience now and recover and go again next week,” he concluded.

U21 star Sean Loftus performed well in the sweeper role during extra-time and Donoghue may look to pitch him in from the start next Sunday.

But Galway will be sweating over the fitness of McInerney and Canning as the rest of the hurling world draws breath after the most extraordinary of games.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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