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5 talking points after Galway see off Tipperary in thrilling semi-final battle

The Tribesmen advance to the final on 3 September.

Johnny Coen with Padraig Maher after the game Johnny Coen and Padraig Maher after the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

1. Canning provides the goods for Galway

He endured a slow start with his accuracy deserting him in the first half but when Galway needed Joe Canning most, the Portumna man delivered. After Padraic Mannion banged over a monster free in the 51st minute, no other Galway player registered a score as Canning reeled off their last five points of the game.

He arrowed over a shot from play in the 53rd minute, slotted a ’65 four minutes later, despatched another point from play in the 64th minute, launched over that stunning free with three minutes of normal time left and then hit that magical match-winner in injury-time.

Canning’s storming finale was the perfect expression of leadership, temperament and nerve. It was a huge contribution for Galway at a critical juncture and all the more impressive after a sluggish opening.

2. The Galway Tipperary semi-final trilogy

Three years, three All-Ireland semi-final ties and just a single point separating the sides on each occasion. A wafer-thin margin settled the issue in favour of Galway in 2015 and Tipperary in 2016 before we got a repeat in today’s third instalment. The entertainment bar had been set pretty high after the last two years but this pair seemingly refuse to let the standards drop when they face each other.

Sure there were mistakes and the greasy surface contributed to some of those but as a full-blooded and gripping contest, it’s difficult to find fault. The finale was heart-stopping and dripping with tension. Round two next weekend looked a prospect after Brendan Maher’s composure to slam over that late free but Canning was poised to settle the issue.

Gearoid McInerney celebrates Gearoid McInerney celebrates Galway's victory Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. Tipperary’s goal chances

Seamus Callanan rifled home a hat-trick to nearly overwhelm Galway on his own in 2015 before last August it was John O’Dwyer and John McGrath that struck those killer blows to the net to propel Tipperary over the line. Today Tipperary only raised one green flag, and while Galway couldn’t find a way past Darren Gleeson themselves, it was the Premier’s spurning of goal opportunities that proved crucial in a game of fine margins.

They weren’t easy chances that fell to Callanan in the 25th minute and Noel McGrath in the 51st minute yet Galway netminder Colm Callanan’s ability to block both ground shots proved vital in the final analysis. Tipperary’s attack only supplied 0-4 from play in the second half – which can be attributed to some heroic Galway defending – and it proved a significant statistic.

Colm Callanan saves a Seamus Callanan attempt Colm Callanan denies Seamus Callanan from hitting the net. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. Tipperary title retention hopes end

After a tricky season, Tipperary have seen their hopes of stitching All-Ireland wins together end. It was a stated ambition of Michael Ryan and his players in the wake of their stunning 2016 success that they would achieve something that has eluded Tipperary teams since 1965.

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But after admirably bouncing back from the setbacks of April’s league final and May’s Munster quarter-final, there is to be no happy ending to Tipperary’s 2017 campaign. They contributed richly to a classic encounter yet that will wound them even more. Between matches with Kilkenny and Galway, Tipperary have suffered their share of agonising defeats in epic games of late.

Niall O'Meara dejected A dejected Niall O'Meara after the game. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

5. Galway prove they can win a battle as one last hurdle remains

After cruising to a 16-point league final victory in April and cantering to a Leinster title with an average winning margin of 14 points, the question mark that hovered over Galway before today was their capacity to weather a storm from opponents and cope with their five-week hiatus from action.

By prevailing by a point in a thrilling finish, they answered positively both of those questions. Perhaps there was some concern when they slipped behind 0-4 to 0-1 early on but then Galway settled to the tempo of the game to ease any doubts about them not being sharp. Surviving a furious Tipperary onslaught settled the debate about the calibre of opponents Galway have beaten.

But there is one big hurdle that remains for them to overcome. They have ticked every box to date in 2017, the task now is to end the county’s 29-year drought and end their succession of All-Ireland final losses since 1988.

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‘When he gets a ball in that position there is a great chance it is going to go over’

‘Joe Canning take a bow!’: The reaction to Galway’s stunning win over Tipperary

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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