The 3rd of September 2017 will remain in history as one of the most remarkable days for Galway hurling fans. This glorious summer day, Galway put an end to their drought. Following a 3 point defeat over Waterford, Galway became All-Ireland hurling champions 2017.
It was a thrilling game from start to finish, filled with dramatic and exciting moments. Joe Canning opened the scoring for Galway after 18 seconds with a point which he hit over his left shoulder. Galway continued to take the lead. Points from Johnny Coen, Joseph Cooney, and Cathal Mannion, gave Galway four points to no score lead after four minutes. Fifth minute, Kevin Moran scored a goal for Waterford, eventually putting them on the scoreboard. In the 22nd minute, a high ball in from Kieran Bennett landed in the back of the net, making the score 0-10 to 2-4. 28th minute of the first half, Joe Canning scored another point for Galway, from a sideline cut. Galway had a one-point lead at half-time on a 0-14 to 2-7 scoreline.
Padraig Mahony scored the first point of the second half, for Waterford, from a free to level the match after three minutes. Waterford briefly took the lead in the 43rd minute after another free from Padraig Mahony. Galway were quick to respond as Joe Canning leveled the match a minute later from a free. With just five minutes to go, the lead was four for Galway after a point from Jason Flynn, who came on as a substitute. Joe Canning scored Galway’s last point in the last minute from another free to make it 0-26 to 2-16 with the final score of the match coming from another Pauric Mahony free puck in the first minute of the four minutes added on.
The impressive display was a result of teamwork and unity. The key players for Galway really stepped up on the day. Galway captain, David Burke from St. Thomas’ showed leadership and determination throughout the game, having a personal tally of 4 points on the day. Portumna star, Joe Canning was named man of the match, after a scoring tally of 9 points. (6 of which were from frees and 1 from a sideline cut.) Galway manager, Micheal Donoghue, from Clarinbridge showed experience and knowledge in the sport. He made some very wise decisions from the sidelines that helped secure victory for the tribesmen. He introduced Jason Flynn and Niall Burke who both played roles – scoring 4 points between them.
Before Galway’s recent victory, Galway fans endured a long 29 years of loss and suffering, as they failed to retain their title. Galway’s last win was back in 1988 when Galway defeated bordering rivals, Tipperary, 1:15- 0:14. The team was managed by Cyril Farrell- a member of Tommy Larkins hurling club and captained by Kiltormer man, Conor Hayes. As the years went on, that dream always seemed further away. Many Galway fans began to lose hope that they would ever see victory again.
On the day, many tributes paid to the former Galway center-back, the great Tony Keady. The native Killimordaly man sadly passed away just three weeks before the game, aged 53. In the winning speech, David Burke paid his respects to Tony and acknowledged him for his contribution to the victory in 1988 where Tony was named the man of the match. Captain then sent condolences to Tony’s family, ‘’To Tony’s wife, Margaret, children, Shannon, Anthony, Jake, and Harry; we hope that lifting this cup today will give you some solace from your grief, if only for a few seconds’’.
Galway come back with a bang
After being narrowly defeated by Tipperary in the semi-final in 2016, Galway came back with a bang for a new year of hurling. From the very beginning, they triumphed all year. Winning both the Allianz league and the Leinster championship and having never lost a match, the tension was palpable as things seemed almost too good to be true. Despite the sense of doubt in the team that began to accumulate nationwide, Galway remained strong as they claimed All Ireland victory.
After the All Ireland, Galway’s success continued to be recognised as eight out of fifteen players listed as The Sunday game team of the year were all Galway men. The players honoured were: Adrian Tuohy, Daithi Burke, Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, David Burke, Joe Canning, Conor Whelan and Joe Cooney. Galway then went on to collect 7 All-Star awards. The recipients were: Padraic Mannion, Daithi Burke, Gearoid McInerney, David Burke, Joe Canning, Conor Whelan and Conor Cooney. Conor Whelan also claimed the award for Young Hurler of the Year.
Iconic winning speech
It was a day much anticipated by Galway fans and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. In David Burke’s iconic winning speech he addressed the people of Galway and all the team’s followers. ‘’This is for everyone in Galway, this is for clubs, families, this is for people of Galway.’’ ‘’We’ve waited 29 long years”, he continued “but finally Liam McCarthy is coming west’’. The Galway team have declared that they are determined to keep progressing. Their main aim is to move up to Division 1A next year.