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Saturday takeaways

OurGame looks at some of the big talking points in the GAA from the action on Saturday — including Galway’s title win

OurGame looks at some of the big talking points in the GAA from the action on Saturday.

Shef’ serves up title for Galway
Galway claimed the Walsh Cup for the first time since 2019 — gifting Henry Shefflin his first title as an inter-county manager.

In a game dominated by short hand-passing and running off the shoulder — which is how hurling has gone — the Tribe dominated the second half to win 0-23 to 0-15.

Wexford coach Niall Corcoran was interviewed at half-time and spoke of their low scoring efficiency, which included ten wides to Galway’s four, and again it was their shooting from long distances that cost them.

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They went long spells in the second half without scoring — one point in 28 minutes — and went from level at the interval to well behind.

Charlie McGuckin continued his excellent early-season form but bright spots were otherwise difficult to find for Darragh Egan’s crew.

The annual debate over Gearoid McInerney’s positioning is sure to be revived after a strong performance at full-back on Conor McDonald, while Jason Flynn linked the play well at the other end.

Substitute Brian Concannon spilled an easy chance for a goal in the second half, but soon after kicked a point from the hand with his left foot — quite a sight indeed. SS

Faithful gain redemption at scene of the crime
Nowlan Park is bound to have brought back some painful memories for the Offaly Schools team after the Faithful minors suffered a heart-breaking All-Ireland final loss to Tipperary last July, but they banished them in style at the Kilkenny venue today.

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That late Tipp assault will go down as one of the greatest smash and grabs in GAA history but an Offaly side featuring more than half of the same personnel returned to the scene of the crime to secure a famous Leinster Colleges SH ‘A’ final success.

The might of St Kieran’s College stood in their way as the famed Kilkenny hurling nursery chased their 57th provincial triumph and the young Cats led at the break, 1-5 to 0-7, with the goal coming from towering full-forward Ted Dunne.

It was the Adam Screeney show in the closing half, though, with last year’s Minor Hurler of the Year firing 1-8 (5f) in total as the Offaly youngsters held their nerve in the closing minutes to get their hands on the Corn Uí Dhúill, 1-16 to 1-14.

That ended a Faithful famine of 37 years – since St Brendan’s CS, Birr landed the title in 1986 – as the rise of Leo O’Connor’s Midlanders continues following a famous Leinster MHC success last summer. MV

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Tipp already looking like a different animal under Cahill
It may only be early February but Tipperary already look like a totally different prospect under Liam Cahill.

Billed as ‘The Battle of Ballingarry’ as Cahill faced off against club-mate Willie Maher, it was more like a slaughter as the Premier took no mercy on their visitors with 14 different scorers hitting the mark in their 20-point victory at Semple Stadium, 2-32 to 0-18.

There were just four points in it when these sides clashed at the same stage in Division 1 Group B last year, but a dismal 2022 is already well in the rearview mirror with a newfound energy as well as an economic use of possession on show.

Gone are aimless long balls and shooting from low-percentage areas of the pitch as they instead choose to carry the ball hard at the opposition with overlaps created at will against a Laois side that just couldn’t get up to the pace of things.

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Familiar faces like captain Noel McGrath, Cathal Barrett, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher and Ronan Maher led the line as always but newcomers like Gearóid O’Connor and Sean Ryan will also have Premier supporters purring ahead of the Munster SHC. MV

King’ rises late on
A game of two halves if ever there was one, before Shane Kingston sealed it late on.

Limerick dominant up until half time, while Cork showed their teeth after the break. The injury to Robbie O’Flynn, no doubt, would have been the biggest drawback of the evening for manager Pat Ryan.

Limerick led by 0-16 to 0-8 at the break and it felt like watching history repeating.
The Treaty passed the ball around with ease, giving that extra handpass or two until a man was released into open space, and totted up the scores.

Cork, as ever, took over low-percentage shots when the pass was on, or refused to give off a simple ball when someone was making a run for them. Patrick Horgan, Conor Lehane and O’Flynn all forced shots early on, as the wides were racked up. Added to some silly fouls for pushes in the back, Ryan’s charges were on the back foot.

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On the plus side, a couple of scores in the first half came from the Rebels winning big ruck turnovers against Limerick, with O’Flynn and Eoin Downey profiting. More of that would come later on.

There was talk on the half-time TV analysis of pushing up on Limerick but that resulted in a hammering to the green machine in the 2021 All-Ireland SHC final.

The issue for the Rebels is perhaps playing with a forward line containing too many players who want to hurl rather than hunt, with a couple of them rather weak in the tackle.

O’Fynn’s brilliant goal — assisted by Declan Dalton — spearheaded a revival which was supercharged when the two players reversed roles for another major. Horgan showed the mid-week headlines didn’t bother him too much with some lovely points from play after the interval.

John Kiely was able to introduce Cian Lynch late on which was a boost, but the performances of some of his less-seasoned stars won’t have set pulses racing.

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With Aaron Gillane not involved here, Seamus Flanagan had a low-key performance playing that role closest to goal, while Oisin O’Reilly and Adam English didn’t get into the game as they would have wished.

O’Flynn took time to work himself into the game but was reminding us of his power before picking up what looks like a bad injury.

At least the Rebels showed huge fight in the second half, giving hope to every contender for 2023. SS

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