Henry Shefflin pleased with Galway job well done

It was a case of work done for Henry Shefflin and the Galway Bowlers at O’Moore Park on Saturday night as they had 22 runs to spare on Laois to secure their place in the All Ireland series.

With seven points from four games, Galway are assured of a top three finish but need a draw at home to Dublin next Saturday to book their final place at Leinster.

Fourteen Galway players scored goals, including goalkeeper Eanna Murphy who clocked in in the second half as they pulled away from a brave challenge from Laois after the break.

With just six points between the sides at the break, second-half goals from Conor Whelan and Joseph Cooney sprung between the sides.

“It was about getting the two points and putting us seven on the table for the Leinster Championship,” Shefflin told the gathered media after the game.

“That was the goal today. The first half we started very well (when they took a 0-9 to 0-1 lead after nine minutes) but I thought Laois was very impressive afterwards. Enda Rowland was controlling the game with his pucks… he was throwing short and long pucks and they were hurting us.

With Paddy Purcell and Cha Dwyer looking very impressive with the first three points each of the game, Laois cut the gap to three late in the half, although Galway got the last two scores before half-time to lead 0-18 at 0-12.

“They came back in the game, threw really well and had some brilliant scoring and that was a bit of a concern, but I thought our lads responded really well before half time.

“We were six points clear in a Leinster league game and we probably would have taken that. We knew if we had the pucks and restarts under control and we got the few goals to give us some cushion.

Galway scored five quick points early in the second half to put the daylight between the sides and Whelan’s 50th-minute goal and Cooney’s ten minutes later turned the game into a rout, having been a decent contest so far.

For Galway, a win over Dublin next Saturday at Pearse Stadium will send them into a Leinster final, but given their uneven record in the game, Shefflin will tread carefully.

A massive loss in the Walsh Cup earlier this year is also clearly on his mind.

“I expect a serious challenge. We played them four months ago – January 16 and lost by 19 points.

“I guess the people of Galway know the challenge ahead of us. They know that the results of the last two years have not been excellent.

“We’re going to be in the All Ireland series now, however that goes.”

After a third straight defeat by more than 20 points, Laois is now turning his attention to a relegation shootout next week against a Westmeath side who drew with Wexford on Saturday.

The Laois must win as a draw or loss will send them to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2023.

First-half injuries to Dwyer and Mark Dowling put them on an injured list that already includes Stephen “Picky” Maher, Willie Dunphy, Diarmuid Conway and co-captains Podge Delaney and John Lennon.

“Obviously even before this game we were focused on next week,” manager Cheddar Plunkett said afterwards.

“We wanted that competitiveness to build into next week and we got it.

“I’m really focused on next week. The winners are going to stay in the Leinster Championship, the losers are out, that’s how important it is.”

Scorers for Galway: C Cooney 0-8 (5 f), C Mannion 0-7, T Monaghan 0-6, J Cooney 1-2, C Whelan 1-2, D Morrissey 0-2, P Mannion 0-2, C Fahy 0- 2, B Concannon 0-1, J Grealish 0-1, F Burke 0-1, E Murphy 0-1, E Niland 0-1 (f), J Flynn 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: R King 0-6 (5f), P Purcell 0-3, C Dwyer 0-3, J Keyes 0-3, PJ Scully 0-2, E Rowland 0-1 (g), J Kelly 0-1, S Downey 0-1, T Keyes 0-1

Galway: E Murphy; J Grealish, Daithi Burke, P Mannion; D Morrissey, G McInerney, F Burke; C Mannion, David Burke; J Cooney, C Cooney, T Monaghan; C Fahy, C Whelan, B Concannon.

Subtitles: R Glennon for David Burke (51), TJ Brennan for Daithi Burke (57), E Niland for J Cooney (58), J Coen for Morrissey (64), J Flynn for Whelan (65)

LAWS: E Rowland (0-1, w); P Dunne, S Downey (0-1), D Hartnett; R Mullaney, C McEvoy, J Kelly (0-2); A Corby, P Purcell (0-3); FC Fennell, J Keyes (0-3), C Dwyer (0-3); B Conroy, R King (0-6, 5f), M Dowling.

Subtitles: PJ Scully (0-2) for Dowling (injured – 17), C Byrne for Dwyer (injured – 33), E Killeen for Mullaney (54), T Keyes (0-1) for Conroy (58), F Flanagan for McEvoy (69)

Arbitrator: S Cleere (Kilkenny)

Leave a Reply