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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018

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

Micheal Donoghue was full of praise for Joe Canning after his dramatic winning score.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MICHEAL DONOGHUE WAS a relieved man when he sat in the auditorium to address the media after a titanic semi-final.

In the end there was nothing between the sides, only a Joe Canning strike he squeezed over from an impossible angle on the sideline.

When Johnny Coen collected a Tipperary clearance at midfield in the 74th minute and turned to see Canning in the shotgun behind him, he must have thought it was too good to be true.

The Portumna forward had plenty of work to do from there, but there was nobody in the world Galway would have preferred to have in that position.

“When he gets a ball in that position there is a great chance it is going to go over,” smiled Donoghue afterwards.

“I think in big games like that big moments are defined by your big players and he really stood up to the mark.”

Canning had a hairy start to the game and struggled to get involved, particularly in the opening half. But when it mattered most he was there at the heart of all Galway’s good play and he shot each of their final five points down the stretch.

“I suppose that was a challenge for us, how do we get him into the game? I thought in the first-half it was probably bypassing him a bit and in a game like that you want your big players on the ball.

“We moved him inside because there was a lot ball going in in the first-half. So we moved him inside into the full-forward line. It just seemed that wherever he was it wasn’t going to. In the second-half it was just bring him back out to midfield and get him going through the lines and get back into the game again and he came up with a few scores.”

Galway and Tipperary seem to bring the best out of each other but the last thing Donoghue wanted was another high-scoring ding-dong battle like the previous two.

“I remember looking up at the clock at one stage during the second-half and there was 64 minutes gone. I just remember thinking, ‘where did the time go?’ Obviously it’s a realisation that it’s nip and tuck and it’s going to go down to the wire. Just delighted to get through it.

“In preparation you are just hoping that like the last two years it didn’t turn into a shootout again. I just think it was an epic encounter, we are just very fortunate to come out on the right side of it.

“When it turns into that (a shootout) it is just cat and mouse, up and down the field, you don’t know what way it is going to go. I just think both teams draw the best out of each other. At half-time we said to the lads that we were happy enough with where we were, we were within touching distance.

“There were a few things and areas we thought we were down on, but we just pushed the boys to try to improve on those. We challenged them on work-rate, attitude, and desire, I thought they showed that in abundance.

“The residing (feeling) is just relief from my perspective.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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