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Tuesday 23 October 2018

'We didn't get a lot of respect,' claims Canning

SO NEAR: Clare joint-manager Donal Moloney. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
SO NEAR: Clare joint-manager Donal Moloney. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Was the character of this Galway team really questioned after last week's original deadlock?

Joe Canning certainly thought so, and reckoned yesterday's fraught one-point victory has silenced the doubters for now at least.

"We showed great character," the Hurler of the Year declared. "We were only behind overall in both matches once, I think. And we didn't get a lot of respect during the week, I think, from media and such. Our character was questioned, I thought.

"People were saying we didn't perform ... but only being behind once in an All-Ireland semi-final over two games just shows the character we have."

What cannot be denied is Galway's propensity for lightning-fast starts (last year's All-Ireland final, last month's Leinster final replay, now both days against Clare) ... or a tendency to lose healthy leads before gathering themselves in the home straight.

Here, when Peter Duggan buried a 53rd minute goal, they led by just one and looked vulnerable ... but they won the next puckout and Canning pointed his own free after being unceremoniously pulled down by Conor Cleary.

Panic

"We've a lot of leaders," said Canning, "and we didn't panic. I think we got the next score after that and we did that against Kilkenny in the Leinster final here as well.

"And we did it last weekend when Aron Shanagher got the goal to go ahead; we drew it back level again. So that's a good sign in a team."

Here's another good sign: Galway have now gone 13 championship games unbeaten since the start of 2017.

And while Clare will bemoan Shanagher's late goal miss, Peter Duggan's subsequent mis-hit free, and an overall wide count of 19, joint-manager Donal Moloney was not inclined to pigeon-hole this painful defeat as one that got away.

"We've always looked at this championship that the most consistent team will win through," Moloney reasoned. "The fly-by-nights don't survive in this and, fair play to Galway, they have been consistent over two seasons now. I don't think we left it behind, I think they're a great team.

"Normally our efficiency is much, much higher than that but it let us down a little bit. Having said that, this is game eight and our players have just been magnificent this summer. They've grown so much and they left it all out there on the field."

Micheál Donoghue echoed that point, describing Clare as a "savage team, massive players, they took their opportunities wonderfully. Our boys showed massive heart and resilience to come back."

Was he worried that Galway have gone to the well too often of late?

"Not at all. Games of that quality, you can't replicate that in training. Hopefully that will stand to us."

But will Gearóid McInerney, ruled out here with a calf injury, be fit to take his place against Limerick?

"He's working really hard with the medics. We'll do everything we can to get him on the pitch," the Galway boss promised.

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