By Mike Fitzpatrick
Galway 2-26, Tipperary 4-14
Galway clinched the 1999 junior hurling crown with an emphatic victory over Tipperary at Gaelic Park on Sunday.
Following Galway’s record-breaking scoring feats versus Connecticut two weeks back, and Tipperary hurling reaching new levels of excellence, we were almost guaranteed an exciting game from the start. Galway, in their last appearance, scored a phenomenal ten goals, making it blatantly obvious that they had a forward line to put the shivers down any defense. Their backline however, conceded seven goals, not a good sign coming into a game versus Tipperary.
The Connacht side, under the helm of John Kelly, opened as the stronger side thanks to a goal and four points without reply early in the tie thanks to Mike Curtin and Ollie Fahey.
Some excellent work from Galway’s Cathal Kenny resulted in a couple more points from Mark Kerins and Declan Starr, until Fahey himself got in on the action and registered two magnificent points from hefty distances and difficult angles.
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Tipperary came back a little and grabbed scores through Noel Morris and Mark Keeshan, but Galway’s lead seemed too large.
Galway’s nine-point lead did eventually take a beating though. Two quick goals late in the first half from Keeshan and Kevin Madden whittled the lead to three points and entering the interval, Tipp’s cause seemed not as lost as it had been.
Cathal Kenny piled on the pressure for Galway and forced Tipperary goalkeeper Davey Lonergan into two fantastic saves which would have put Kelly’s heroes way ahead.
Keeshan and Morris hit points for Tipp, and Lonergan was called into action yet again, knocking two goalbound efforts over the bar.
Goals from Tipp half-back Liam Sheedy and points from his teammate Morris threatened a late stealing of the crown from Galway’s grasp, but the sheer firepower from the likes of Mike Curtin, Mark Kerins, Ollie Fahey saw Galway hold on.
Galway must look forward to next season as defending champions, whereas the hopes of Tipperary hurling rests in the hands of their senior side.
Galway: Pat Donohue, Vincent Ruane, Dermot O’Brien, Niall Kinnane (0-1), Owen Cummins (0-1), Sean Nolan, Eamonn Shields, Declan Starr (0-1), Ollie Fahey (1-7), Mark Kerins (0-4), Cathal Kenny (0-2), Mike Curtin (1-9), Derek Glennon (0-1), Subs: Tommy Ryan, Brian Delaney.
Tipperary: Dave Lonergan, Donal Cummins, Shane Ryan, Michael Costello, Liam Sheedy (2-2), Willie Hackett (0-1), Robbie Quinlan, Noel Morris (0-6), Paul Casey, Stephen Carthy, Paul Hogan, Kevin Madden (1-0), Mark Keeshan (0-5),. Subs: Robert Stephens, Robbie Ryan.