Galway Rue Inefficiency In 2019 All-Ireland Hurling Campaign

Galway reached the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final in back-to-back years, winning the title in the 2017 campaign.

Their triumph ended a 29-year drought without the crown after previously losing six finals in their bid to attain glory. Micheál Donoghue’s men reached the final in 2018 and faced off against Limerick to become the first side since Kilkenny to claim successive championships.

The contest was a classic between two evenly-matched teams, and it went down to the wire as Joe Canning scored a late point to bring Galway within striking distance.

However, Canning missed a game-tying attempt, allowing Limerick to hold out for a 2-18 (24) – (25) 3-16 victory, earning their first title since 1973.

Given their recent dominance, Galway would have been confident of making yet another appearance in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final. However, it has not proved to be the case as Tipperary and Kilkenny will battle it out for the crown, with the former being considered the favourite at the time of writing in the All Ireland hurling odds with Paddy Power.

For the first time under Donoghue’s tenure, the club have failed to reach the knockout stage of the All-Ireland Senior Championship. A lack of clinical edge compared to their rivals in the Leinster Championship was to blame for their premature end to the campaign, although their form was solid enough, especially at the beginning of the term.

Galway faced off against Carlow in their Leinster Championship opener at Pearse Road. Conor Cooney scored a vital goal in the second half to ease the tensions of the home side after the visitors had been more than a match for Donoghue’s men.

Conor Whelan, Niall Burke, and Jason Flynn held their composure when it mattered the most to claim the victory for Galway, although the contest was a lot closer than anticipated, proving to be an ominous sign for the rest of the term.

In their next outing against Wexford, Galway were made to rue their finishing. Both sides struggled for efficiency around the goal, although Whelan and Cooney had handed Donoghue’s men control at the break, holding a six-point advantage. After holding form for the early stages of the second half, Wexford produced an emphatic surge back into the game with seven successive points.

Jack O’Connor put the visitors ahead before Jason Flynn reacted, in turn, to put Galway into the lead once more.

There would be one more momentum shift when Liam Og McGovern put a point on the board to level the scores before Lee Chin had the opportunity to win the game for Wexford, only to send his attempt wide of the posts.

Both sides wastefulness resulted in a 0-16 – 0-16 tie, leaving Galway with work ahead of them to reach the Leinster Final.

Donoghue’s men were outstanding in their next outing, proving their credentials for another run to the All-Ireland Championship Final. Cathal Mannion was outstanding, notching eight points, while Whelan, Brian Concannon and Johnny Coen scored goals to take Galway beyond the reach of Kilkenny despite a late flurry of points from the home side.  

The stage was set for Donoghue’s men to close out a spot in the Leinster Championship in their clash with Dublin.

Galway were stunned by the performance of their rivals in the contest, ending their campaign due to their lack of clinical edge.

Dublin scored three goals whereas the Tribesmen failed to notch a three-pointer over the course of the game. Chris Crummey came to the fore along with Eamonn Dillon and Sean Moran to dump Donoghue’s men out of the competition.

Canning returned from injury in the second half, but it was not enough to inspire his team, whose lack of goals came back to haunt them.

They finished level of points with the top three sides in the Leinster Group, but their inefficiency knocked them down into fourth place.

Donoghue and his team now have to watch the final for the first time in three years, undoubtedly plotting their return to the title game next term.