ALL THINGS IRELAND: GALWAY EDGE PAST OFFALY IN LEINSTER THRILLER
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

GALWAY EDGE PAST OFFALY IN LEINSTER THRILLER

Joe Canning and Ger Farragher hit injury-time points as Galway won an epic Leinster Hurling Championship semi-final replay over Offaly by 3-17 to 2-18.
Level in stoppage time, John McIntyre's side finished with a flourish as Canning landed the decisive score amid another brilliant comeback from Offaly.
Meeting for the second time in the space of six days, Galway's explosive start was rewarded with a burst of scores as Offaly failed to match the Tribesmen's passion early on.
Leading by 0-04 to 0-01 after 10 minutes courtesy of scores from Andy Smith, Damien Hayes, Iarla Tannian and Ger Farragher, Galway were in the ascendancy and they then bagged their first goal with a smashing move.
The game had just ticked into its 11th minute when Farragher found the excellent Hayes, who burst clear to rattle home an opportunistic goal.
Offaly were in deep distress, and the westerners grabbed a second goal in the 24th minute with Farragher again heavily involved. Ollie Canning started the move, Farragher kept the sliotar moving, and Joe Canning supplied a typically crisp finish to edge Galway nine points ahead.
Brian Carroll was effective for Offaly and struck over a couple of smartly-taken points, but Galway still went in at the break armed with a commanding 2-09 to 0-07 advantage.
They added two more points after the restart courtesy of Farragher and Hayes, but Offaly, rediscovering the sort of form they showed at Croke Park last Sunday, came thundering back.
Substitute Ger Healion announced his arrival into the game with a well-taken point and a goal shortly after in the 42nd minute.
It was a smashing encounter, but Galway remained composed, and Hayes swept home a 51st-minute goal that put them six clear again.
Referee Cathal McAllister then took centre stage in the 54th minute when controversially red-carding Galway midfielder David Burke for retaliation.
Offaly then hit an equalising goal in the 59th minute when Joe Bergin buried a shot from an acute angle as the match continued to excite.
It was tight and tense in the closing stages as the lead swapped hands, but Galway took the verdict to advance to their first ever Leinster decider. They will face reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in a mouth-watering clash on July 4.

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