All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Canning delivers as Tribe dethrone Tipp

06 August 2017

Galway's Joseph Cooney and Noel McGrath of Tipperary.
©INPHO/James Crombie.

Joe Canning’s sublime eleventh point, deep into injury time, handed Galway a sensational 0-22 to 1-18 victory over Tipperary at Croke Park.

With 68,184 in attendance as a tense and dramatic encounter played out in greasy conditions looked set to head for a replay, the Portumna ace took a pass from Johnny Coen in the 74th minute and flashed over a magnificent winner at the Hill 16 end from the Cusack Stand sideline.

Galway - for whom centre back Gearoid McInerney was immense - are thus through to their third All-Ireland final in six years, where they will face Cork or Waterford on the first Sunday of next month, having won their last ten competitive matches between league and championship.

Defending All-Ireland champions Tipperary made a real game of it and can consider themselves unfortunate not to have at least got another day out at HQ, although they will not quibble with the quality of Canning’s winner. This was the third successive year that these two great teams collided at the penultimate stage and for the third time the final whistle sounded with just one point between them.

The sides were level on no fewer than 13 occasions…

John McGrath’s 23rd-minute major assured Michael Ryan’s charges of a narrow 1-10 to 0-12 lead at the end of a closely-contested opening period, where both sides enjoyed dominant passages and the teams were level six times.

Seamus Callanan opened the scoring from a free and Seamus Kennedy, Noel McGrath and John O’Dwyer added to Tipp’s tally after Conor Cooney knocked over Galway’s opener.

The winners landed seven of the next eight scores: Conor Whelan and Johnny Cooney had the Tribe back within a point by the tenth minute and Canning missed an easy free before Conor Cooney and Cathal Mannion edged the non-Leinster Leinster champions ahead for the first time with their fourth successive score.

Canning restored the Tribesmen’s lead after Callanan equalised and Whelan made it 0-7 to 0-5 at the midway stage in the first half with a deft finish on the spin after a pass from Conor Cooney. Canning (free) left three between them when Whelan was fouled but Tipp snuck back in front with a Padraic Maher point followed by McGrath’s well-taken goal after Callanan’s mis-struck shot caused a mix-up in the Galway rearguard.

Coen’s second point had them level again, 0-9 to 1-6, and Whelan’s third edged the westerners back in front after Colm Callanan had denied his namesake Seamus a second Tipp three-pointer. Callanan’s free drew the sides level for the fifth time with four minutes left before the break and Brendan Maher’s booming free propelled Tipp back ahead on 33 minutes.

When Canning replied with a sumptuous point from a sideline cut, Callanan and substitute Jason Forde were on hand to give the holders a two-point advantage only for Canning to close the first-half scoring from a soft free deep into added time.

Joseph Cooney equalised within seconds of the restart and Conor Cooney sent a goal effort inches wide at the Hill 16 end before Callanan won and converted a free to restore Tipp’s lead; Canning replied in kind – level for the eighth time. And they were deadlocked again following an exchange between Whelan – his fourth – and Brendan Maher.

We then witnessed a frantic period of determined, no-holds-barred play before captain Padraig Maher edged Tipp back in front in the 49th minute and Canning equalised from a free 90 seconds later – 0-16 to 1-13. Joseph Cooney’s long-range screamer had the league winners ahead at the three-quarters stage and  O’Dwyer replied to an inspirational Canning punt from way out the field – 0-18 to 1-14 with 15 minutes to go.

Noel McGrath cancelled out Canning’s eighth point (‘65’) and Canning dragged a goal effort to the right of the posts – a miss which was punished by John McGrath, who equalised with eight left. Canning – his ninth – and O’Dwyer – his third – traded points as the sides were level for the twelfth time with four minutes left in an epic battle.

Brendan Maher’s nerveless 73rd-minute free from the centre of the field (in response to a fabulous long-range Canning free) seemed to have earned Tipp a replay but Canning had other ideas, snatching the winner not long after his ambitious monster free almost bounced into the net, only for Darren Gleeson to make a diving save.

O’Dwyer had a chance to tie up the scores again after Canning’s late, late wonderstrike but his shot into the breeze went left of the posts as Tipperary surrendered the Liam MacCarthy Cup. They went down with their boots on today and can justifiably bemoan a few marginal calls that went against them.

Now, on September 3rd, can Micheal Donoghue’s charges add the All-Ireland to the Walsh Cup, national hurling league and Leinster championship won so far this season?

Galway - C Callanan; A Tuohy, Daithi Burke, J Hanbury; P Mannion (0-1f), G McInerney, A Harte; J Coen (0-2), David Burke; C Mannion (0-1), J Canning (0-11, 6f, 1sl, 1'65), J Cooney (0-1); C Whelan (0-4), N Burke, C Cooney (0-2). Subs: J Flynn for N Burke, J Glynn for C Mannion, S Moloney for C Cooney, G Lally for G McInerney.

Tipperary - D Gleeson; D Maher, J Barry, M Cahill; S Kennedy (0-1), R Maher, Padraic Maher (0-2); B Maher (0-3, 2f), M Breen; D McCormack, Patrick Maher, N McGrath (0-2); J O’Dwyer (0-3), S Callanan (0-5, 3f), J McGrath (1-1). Subs: J Forde (0-1) for M Breen, N O’Meara for J Forde.

Referee - B Kelly.