By Conor Martin
The Tipperary quest for back to back All-Ireland titles is over as Galway knocked out the defending All-Ireland Hurling champions by two points as they won 3-23 to 2-24 at The LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
This fixture is well known in the hurling world for being an entertaining affair and it is a real shame fans of these hurling powerhouses were not there to see it in person.
The game however made for excellent viewing for the television audience at home and had the viewers on the edge of their seats all the way through the 70+ minutes.
Right from the off both sides showed their desire to book a last four spot and Tipp set the bar by racing into a 1-3 to 0-2 lead thanks to a goal from Seamus Callanan.
The tribesmen were not keen to let the defending All-Ireland champs have their own way. Galway found themselves netting twice through Brian Concannon and Cathal Mannion as the game swung the way of the men from the west.
There was to be a second Tipperary goal with a few minutes remaining to make things exciting when Patrick Maher finished in the Galway net after capitalising on a parried shot by Éanna Murphy who could only tip the ball into the path of Maher to keep the result in the balance. Both sides before the second Tipperary green flag had traded points but it was the Munster men who led by four at the break.
As both sides did in the second-half both counties started like men on a mission but looking at the way the two sides had come out for the second period you’d have put your money on Tipperary to continue their 2020 Championship campaign as the men in blue and gold made the difference between the two sides six.
However as mentioned Galway were not there just to let Tipp have it their own way and the 2017 champions possess star quality and the ever reliable Joe Canning helped his side get back in the game and he was aided by some fine point-taking from Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan.
The match was such a tight affair the slightest slip up from either county would swing the quarter-final in favour of the other.
Tipperary blinked first in this stand off Cathal Barrett saw scarlett for a second yellow card and was sent on his way leaving his side to fend off the Galway resurgence with 14 men for the remainder of the match.
The extra man provided vital for Galway and they were level by the 63rd minute when Canning followed up a sublime sideline cut with another free.
Tipperary could feel their title under real threat and they used their experience and determination to get ahead once more thanks to a fine Willie Connors point and a Ronan Maher free that found the gap between the posts from miles out.
The game was won by Galway when they expertly dealt with a fine solo run from Paddy Carrell who came charging at the Galway backline all the way from his own but the Galway defence managed to diffuse the danger and the men in maroon countered.
Galway used possession well before the ball fell to Aidan Harte who had also travelled up from defence to net the third Galway goal of the game with minutes on the clock left.
Galway added to their total as they saw out the win but will have to cut out the basic errors when they face Limerick in the semi-final next weekend in a replay of the 2018 All-Ireland final.
Galway: Eanna Murphy; Aidan Harte (1-0), Daithi Burke, Shane Cooney; Fintan Burke, Gearoid McInerney, Joseph Cooney (0-1); Padraic Mannion, Johnny Coen (0-1); Joe Canning (0-14, 13f), Cathal Mannion (1-3), David Burke; Brian Concannon (1-0), Conor Cooney (0-1), Conor Whelan (0-1). Sean Loftus (0-1)
Subs Used: Jason Flynn (0-1) for David Burke (36), Adrian Tuohy for Johnny Coen (36),Sean Loftus for Fintan Burke (58), Evan Niland for Conor Cooney (58) Darren Morrissey for Shane Cooney (71)
Tipperary: Brian Hogan (0-1); Cathal Barrett, Ronan Maher (0-1), Alan Flynn (0-2); Niall O’Meara (0-1), Brendan Maher, Padraic Maher; Noel McGrath (0-4), Michael Breen (0-2); Dan McCormack (0-2), Barry Heffernan (0-1) , Patrick Maher (1-0); Jason Forde (0-6, 5f), Seamus Callanan (1-2), Jake Morris (0-1).
Subs Used: Willie Connors (0-1) for Patrick Maher (51), John McGrath for Noel McGrath (54), Paddy Caddell for Niall O’Meara (60), Paul Flynn for Jason Forde (66), Mark Keogh for Dan McCormack (73)
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)