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29th Apr 2010

Galway v Cork: Three to savour

JOE has trawled through the archives to recall three memorable clashes between Cork and Galway ahead of Sunday's Division One decider in Thurles.

JOE

Cork and Galway go head to head in the NHL Division One decider in Thurles on Sunday evening. Amazingly, given the hurling pedigree of both counties, this will be the first time that they have met in the Division One final. Despite that statistic, there have been some memorable clashes between the counties in the past and JOE has trawled through the archives to recall three of the best.

19 July 2008 All-Ireland Qualifiers Round 4

Cork 0-23 – 2-15 Galway

The rebels may have been the victors on a balmy championship evening in Thurles, but this game is remembered as the day when Joe Canning announced his arrival as a superstar in the game of hurling. The then 19 year old Canning had made his championship debut only two months before and went on a personal crusade against a Cork defence containing such luminaries as Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and John Gardiner.

Canning scored a remarkable 2-12 out of a total of 2-15 as the Tribesmen succumbed to a narrow two point defeat, giving ‘the Rock’ O’Sullivan a torrid time in the process. Ben O’Connor knocked over twelve points and Joe Deane buzzed about to great effect for Cork, who emerged as two point winners despite having goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack sent off for two yellow card offences.

Despite agreeing to stay on for another year in the aftermath of defeat, the loss to Cork was Ger Loughnane’s last championship match in charge of Galway, while Cork were well beaten by eventual champions Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi final.

2 September 1990 All Ireland Final

Cork 5-15 – Galway 2-21


Noel Lane and Denis Walsh face off in the 1990 All-Ireland Final

The first hurling final of the 1990’s is regarded as the greatest of the decade and indeed, one of the best ever to have taken place at Croke Park. The Tribesmen were red hot favourites going into their fifth decider in six years, having won two Liam McCarthy cups in 1987 and 1988.

Five points down at half time, the Rebels turned the game on its head with four goals in the second half in a rollercoaster of a match that had the crowd of almost 64,000 on the edge of their seats on a splendid day when headquarters was bathed in sunshine. John Fitzgibbon netted twice for Cork and Tomás Mulcahy was inspirational when switched to the half forward line in the second half.

Despite the efforts of Galway legends Joe Cooney and Noel Lane, the men from the west lost out by three points in the end and continued their unfortunate record of never having beaten Cork in an All-Ireland Final.

6 September 1953 All Ireland Final

Cork 3-3 – 0-8 Galway

The 1990 showpiece may have been regarded as one of the best ever, but the decider in 1953 has infamously gone down in the GAA annals as possibly the dirtiest final of all time. In a remarkably low scoring encounter, the Rebels won by a single point on a scoreline of 3-3 – 0-8 in front of almost 72,000 souls at Croke Park.

The Cork side, containing the legendary Christy Ring had dominated hurling in the 1940’s, winning the Liam McCarthy cup six times and were reigning All-Ireland champions going into the decider in 53’. Galway went into the game with the intention of upsetting their opponents physically and did just that, but ultimately failed to win the battle on the scoreboard.

The battle between the teams didn’t stop on the field however. Later that evening, a number of Galway players turned up at the Gresham Hotel, where the Cork players were celebrating and a melee broke out in which Ring was punched in the face, causing him to fall down a number of steps in the process. Mercifully, the fight calmed down shortly afterwards. And to think, they were meant to be gentlemen in those days.

 

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