With fifteen minutes played, Galway led Clare 1-07 to a single point, despite the gap joint manager Donal Moloney always believed his players would come up with the goods.
That they did as they forced a draw with the reigning All-Ireland champions and indeed they could have dethroned them. However with time running out it was Galway who were on course for another All-Ireland final appearance only for Jason McCarthy to step up with the equaliser following ninety three minutes of hurling.
Donal expected Galway were going to bring such fire at the beginning of the game. “Galway bring terrific momentum, they did that to Kilkenny in the Leinster Final replay and we had planned for that, executing it is a different thing and Galway went full flow during that period. We never had any real doubt that we were going to bring this back and we never had any doubt in the boys”.
“It was a magnificent game and I think the hurling public have been served many epic games this year and today followed suit”.
McCarthy’s point reminded him of an effort from another effort, Domhnall O’Donovan who famously sent the 2013 All-Ireland final to a replay with a last gasp strike. “There were shades of Domhnall O’Donovan in 2013, they were about the only calm heads in the stadium those four boys at that stage in terms of how they built it one pass out over the head onto the next guy and the next guy and Jason doesn’t miss those”.
Colm Galvin played a key role in limiting the influence of the Galway attack when pushed back as a sweeper while Aron Shanagher’s impact from the bench in his first appearance of the year was to be applauded as he struck for a vital goal at the beginning of the second period of extra time. “Colm got on a lot of ball, he’s a very intelligent hurler and uses the ball very well. He showed great leadership as did many others on the field from both sides”.
“It’s pretty amazing, as cruciate ligament injuries go it’s incredible. That was one of his trademarks, that catch, turn and bang. He’s a very driven young man,” Moloney told reporters following the draw.
On the significance of Shanagher’s goal, he said “Two points up that’s a big momentum shift but Galway are magnificent, Johnny Glynn the leadership he showed bringing them back into the game, Johnny Coen aswell, you’re not going to beat Galway until you’re well down the road, we really respect the way they came back at us”.
Seven wides in the first half of extra time did prove costly for Clare but Donal feels management can take a share of the blame for the poor shooting. “That might have been our fault as well, we felt the likes of Seadna and Fitzy had scores in them but they were maybe too far out and on the sideline, if they fed a few of them in it might have been a different result. Galway missed scores in the overall scheme of things, when Galway were on top they missed a lot of scores, the swings and roundabouts today”.
When they re-emerged on the field after full time, the Banner were met with a chorus of boos from the Galway crowd as they kept their opponents waiting for several minutes. The Scariff man explained why there was an issue with time keeping. “To be honest when you go nine points down to Galway you’ve a lot of stuff to fix, the players wanted to discuss things and thrash things out, you only get one shot at this and if we caused anyone any offence we’re sorry but we’ve had it both ways, we’ve been waiting on the field this year and we’ve had other teams waiting for us, to be honest we lost track of time, we were trying to sort a lot of stuff”.
“Your season is riding on this, we have to get it right and the players did to be fair, they were really good at half-time, they got it right and put in a huge second half”.
Having showed their ability in this outing, Moloney again reiterated his disappointment with the criticism shipped towards the Clare players in recent years. “Our boys have taken a lot of criticism over the years which we’ve always deemed very unfair, in Davy’s time they were taken huge criticism, they’re the most professional group of young men I’ve ever seen and it’s great to be associated with them”.
He added, “Both teams have character, these are professional athletes in every way and ahead of professional athletes in some ways”.
Semple Stadium in Thurles will host the replay, it’s a venue that will suit both teams according to the Clare joint manager. “We like Thurles and I’m sure Galway do as well. They were magnificent there, we’ve great memories of Thurles and some great days out there so it will be probably be a bumper attendance I’m sure”.
*Photograph: Martin Connolly