24,163 spectators watched on as Galway booked their place in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals following a well-merited seven-point win over Cork at Semple Stadium this evening.
'The sides were level on three occasions in the opening half, with Galway moving into a 0-08 to 0-07 lead by the break.'
John McIntyre’s men opened much the better but the sides were level at 0-03 apiece after eight minutes’ play, with Ben O’Connor slotting over a brace of scores for the Rebels.
Joe Canning was on fire for the eventual winners in a lively opening half, with the Portumna ace bagging six first half points – all of which came from placed balls.
Canning showed tremendous work-rate throughout and was back helping out his defence in the closing stages when it mattered most, as the Tribesmen claimed their first Championship win over Cork since 2002.
Kieran Murphy and Ben O’Connor caused the Galway defence a number of problems, collecting some fine points for Denis Walsh’s Rebels who led by 0-06 to 0-04 at one stage following successive scores from Murphy, Patrick Horgan and captain John Gardiner.
However, Canning took centre stage as half-time approached. He took his tally to six and forced a superb save from Cork stopper Donal Og Cusack as he probed for the game’s first goal.
Galway began the second half brightly with points from Andy Smith and midfielder Ger Farragher.
This third phase tie suddenly became the battle of the free-takers with Ben O’Connor and Joe Canning clinical from placed balls throughout the second half.
No more than three points separated the sides for the majority of the second period, but Galway held that extra bit of magic in reserve to ensure a storming finish.
After Aonghus Callanan and Ben O’Connor had traded points, with Galway leading by 0-15 to 0-14, the super-charged Tribesmen snuffed out the only goal of the contest.
It arrived from the stick of substitute Joe Gantley. Canning’s initial shot was brilliantly saved once again by Cusack but Gantley was perfectly placed to fire home the rebound and put four points between the sides.
Cork showed great determination to mount a late fightback, but their frustration was summed up late on when a 68th minute goal miss by Niall McCarthy was punished at the opposite end by Joe Canning’s only score of the game from play.
McCarthy hared through on Colm Callanan’s goal but when he unleashed his shot, it flew just inches wide and there was no way back for the Rebels who exit stage left and leave Galway fighting it out in the Liam McCarthy Cup’s final six.
Galway: C Callanan; D Joyce, S Kavanagh, O Canning (capt); F Moore, J Lee, E Lynch; G Farragher (0-01), K Hynes; A Callanan (0-01), C Donnellan, A Smith (0-03); D Hayes (0-03), J Canning (0-11, 0-08f, 0-01sl, 0-01 ‘65’), N Healy.
Subs used: J Gantley (1-00) for Healy (50 mins), K Hayes for Donnellan (59), E Forde for Hynes (69), A Coen for Lynch (70+1).
Cork: D Og Cusack; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, C O’Sullivan; J Gardiner (capt) (0-01), R Curran, S Og O hAilpin (0-01); T Kenny, J O’Connor; B O’Connor (0-09, 0-06f, 0-01 ‘65’), P Cronin, T McCarthy; K Murphy (Sarsfields) (0-02), A O’hAilpin, P Horgan (0-01).
Subs used: T Og Murphy for Horgan (55 mins), N McCarthy (0-01) for T McCarthy (56), G Callanan for K Murphy (58), C Naughton for Cronin (64).
Referee: Brian Galvin (Offaly)