Galway will renew their rivalry with Kilkenny in next month's Leinster SHC final after producing a dominant second half display to see off a gutsy Offaly challenge at a wet and windy O'Moore Park.
Despite having their captain Colin Egan sent off late in the opening half, the underdogs held a 1-7 to 1-6 lead at the interval. But making the most of their numerical advantage and the elements after the break, Galway - who also finished the game with 14 men after Conor Cooney was dismissed 11 minutes from time - streaked clear for what was a comfortable win in the end.
The Faithful, who have been revitalised in recent weeks following their disastrous defeat to Westmeath in their opening game in the round-robin series at the beginning of May, made a dream start when Joe Bergin netted after just 15 seconds. Shane Dooley and wing back Dermot Mooney followed up with points to leave them 1-2 to 0-0 in front after just four minutes.
Galway, who had looked so sharp in their quarter-final rout of the Lake County, were level by the 13th minute thanks to points from Joe Canning and Conor Cooney and a goal from Niall Burke.
James Mulrooney and Dooley replied with points for Offaly before they were dealt a major blow in the 27th minute when Egan received a straight red card from referee Colm Lyons for a challenge on Fergal Moore. Cooney and Canning (free) brought the Tribesmen level again before Dooley gave the underdogs the narrowest of leads at the interval.
A Cooney goal three minutes after the restart gave Galway a lead they never looked like relinquishing. With the wind behind them, they had extended their lead to nine points before a Dooley penalty in the 57th minute reduced the margin to six.
Despite having Cooney sent off, Galway sealed the place in the Leinster final on July 3 with late points from Cyril Donnellan and Canning.
Galway - C Callanan; J Coen, J Hanbury, F Moore; P Mannion (0-2), Daithi Burke, A Harte; David Burke (0-2), D Glennon; N Burke (1-0), J Cooney (0-2), C Cooney (1-3); C Whelan (0-1), J Canning (0-8, 6f, 1'65), C Mannion. Subs: C Donnellan (0-1) for D Glennon, J Flynn for N Burke, A Smith for David Burke.
Offaly - J Dempsey; N Wynne, C McDonald, P Rigney; D Mooney (0-1), S Gardiner, D King; P Murphy (0-1), S Ryan; S Kinsella, S Dooley (1-5, 0-4f, 1-0pen), J Mulrooney (0-1); K Connolly, J Bergin (1-1), C Egan. Subs: C Kiely for S Dooley, E Nolan for K Connolly, C Kiely for J Mulrooney, P Guinan for S Ryan, B Conneely for S Gardiner, S Cleary for P Murphy.
Referee - C Lyons.Tweet