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All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final "The expectation levels are always high in Tipp"


They say goals win games and when you score seven of them, as Tipperary did in Sunday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship semi-final, chances are you are going to emerge successfully.

So it turned out in Croke Park as Liam Cahill's young men put Galway to the sword in devastating fashion as they pilfered three first half goals and four in the second half to record a massive 15-point victory over the defending champions.

This was a highly fancied Galway outfit and the enormity of the task facing Tipperary had been drilled into the players by the management team for the last few weeks. But this bunch of players have faced challenge after challenge this season and they have embraced them all head-on. Now, for the first time all season, they will be favourites going into the All-Ireland Final against Limerick, the team they defeated in the Munster Final.

Tipperary enjoyed the expanses of Croke Park and used the space to very good effect. They could easily have enjoyed a far bigger winning margin with quite a few chances going a-begging - a fact that will not be lost on the backroom team as they prepare their charges for the decider.

Tipperary took a seven- point lead into the interval and it was no more than they deserved. They could have doubled their advantage had they been more efficient in front of goal - ten wides left many Tipperary supporters wondering if those missed chances would be rued by game end. Galway, who had hit six wides of their own, were perhaps fortunate to be still within touching distance of The Premier County at the half way mark.

The foundations to the advantage were laid in the raising of green flags - Tipp got three of them in the first half and this was the basis of their 7-point advantage, 3-4 to 0-6, even though it stood at just seven scores to six.

Lyndon Fairbrother had the opening score of the tie with a pointed free in the second minute but it was cancelled by Liam Forde in the fourth.

Then came a decisive score, Cian Darcy netting for Tipp after a Paddy Cadell sideline pass through the defence and the Kilruane MacDonagh man was on hand to strike off the ground to the net for a fourth minute fillip.

Galway, who were deploying an extra defender had struck 4 wides in 9 minutes but they also added Evan Niland and Enda Fahy scores to keep them in touch.

However Tipp struck goal again, this time through Mark Kehoe after a centre from Jake Morris was broken by Cian Darcy.

Darcy and Kehoe pointed for Tipp before Rian Doody swept the ball to the Galway net for a third Tipp goal - the Galway defence, despite the extra man, was struggling to contain Tipp.

If Tipp had been more clinical in attack the margin could have been a lot greater - Cianan Fahy and Evan Niland managing two points for Galway before the end of the half, while Rian Doody had one for Tipp.

Galway needed a big upping of the ante if they were to get back into the game. Tipp, on the other hand, just needed to continue doing what they had been doing and they didn't allow Galway to come back at them.

Within three minutes of the re-start Tipp had posted a further 1-1 - Ger Browne pointing after just seven seconds, while Rian Doody goaled, moments before Tipp 'keeper Ciaran Barrett saved brilliantly from Kevin Cooney.

Two minutes later the ball was in the Galway net again - Cian Darcy finishing brilliantly before Ger Browne had a sixth Tipp goal. That was Tipp's third goal in eight second half minutes and it was game over.

Galway battled all the way to the final whistle but such was the enormity of the deficit that anything they achieved was never going to be more than consolation.

They had points from Cianan Fahy (2), Evan Niland (2), Ian O'Brien, Jack Canning and Ronan Murphy, but Tipperary too continued to tag on the scores including a seventh goal from Cian Darcy - his third of the afternoon.

Tipp also tagged on points from Doody, Brian McGrath, Mark Kehoe - who finished with 1-4 for the afternoon - and sub Shane Neville.

It was a comprehensive victory for Tipp who will take a lot of confidence with them into the final.

However, they will know that there are areas where improvement is necessary, not least in the shot selection department. Nineteen scores was matched by thirteen wides and the coaches will be conscious of the need to be better in front of goal.

On a very good afternoon the forward aces Cian Darcy, Rian Doody and Mark Kehoe were in sparkling form while in defence Jerome Cahill, Brian McGrath and Killian O'Dwyer were very prominent.

Paddy Cadell and Ger Browne too were busy all the way through while Tipperary's substitutes made impacts when introduced to help keep the pressure on the starters.

So for Tipp it's a case of a lot done, another bit to do.

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