Galway v Clare 1961
Munster Hurling Championship, first round 1961
By The Man with the Cap
It was our third year in Munster hurling and we were still waiting for the win. The previous year in 1960 we suffered a heavy defeat to Waterford, so there was a lot of changes to the side for this one.
Hopes were high heading down in the Morris Minor, with a kinda new-look team to give us optimism. We had earlier played Clare in the League in Gort, and although we drew, we were the better side and should have won only for the old forward weakness prevailing.
So with the bottles of tea, bacon sandwiches, me and the lads hit the road for Nenagh at a boneshaking 30mph.
Galway Clear First Hurdle at Third Attempt
Much frustration was swept aside at Nenagh on Sunday where Galway at their third attempt cleared a first round Munster Hurling Championship tie by ousting Clare to the tune of 2-13 to 0-7 before an estimated attendance of 8,000 spectators.
The hurling fare was of the mixed variety with Galway dictating the terms from the early moments, then slipping into a 2-5 to 0-7 lead at half time, and finally riding on to a comfortable 2-13 to 0-7 victory.
The quality of Clare's hurling was so dulled in the second half that they failed to raise a solitary flag and the game became very much a formality long before the end. While Galway folk may rightly rejoice at this minor triumph, it would be unwise to set the team on a high pedestal since Sunday's performance showed that there is room for considerable improvement before the clash with Tipperary in Galway in round two on July 2nd.
To say the least of Clare they were most disappointing. They began in a flurry and in the early moments looked like dictating, but that early promise soon fizzled out when the faster striking and more skilful Galway side got into their stride. Paddy Fahy and Joe Salmon were supreme in midfield against the Clare pairing of F. Cleary and J. McCarthy, and their promptings were soon taken up all round and it became a mere matter of time for Clare.
Forwards Sweeney, Micky Cullinane, and P.J. Lawless were for ever probing the Clare gaps with efficiency, and try as the Clare back sextet of Custy, Long, O'Donnell, Guinane, Shaeedy and Pat Henchy might they were unable to curb the fast moving Galwaymen. Indeed were it not for the great performance of Clare's Mick Hayes in goal, the Dalcassians would most certainly have gone down to an even greater defeat. Galway captain, Tim Sweeney, was very much in the picture and provided many puzzling moments for a bewildered Clare backline.
Galway appeared to be much the fitter side; they were always in front of the chase and generally they got rid of the ball without over expenditure of energy. Micky Cullinane, one was glad to see hit his old top form again, and Joe Casey did reasonably well registering a goal for their side.
Clare in an endeavour to stop Galway's ascendancy march lodged Jimmy Smyth from the attack to centre-back but the move proved a bad one and Galway continued rampant with Paddy Fahy ruling the roost at midfield.
Suprisingly enough the Galway defence were reduced to a thing of bits and pieces when Clare applied pressure but Jimmy Hegarty came through his hour with flying colours. He was always cool in the face of hot raids and seems to have now gained sufficient confidence to continue undisupted between the Galway posts.
In front of him there was much consolation in the great defence work of Ned Derrivan, Jimmy Duggan, Tom and John Conway and Sean Meade.
All in all Galway's performance was creditable but they must needs sharpen-up for the next round.
Clare got off to a good start when Jimmy Cullinane gave them the lead with a point in the first minute. The lead was short-lived however, as Joe Casey and Mickey Cullinane each had a goal in the third and fifth minutes. From then on Galway assumed command and at the interval led by 2-5 to 0-7.
It was all Galway in the second half with Clare again failing to score.
Scorers for Galway were: - Micky Cullinane (1-4), Tim Sweeney (0-6), P.J. Lawless (0-2), Joe Casey (1-0), and Paddy Fahy (0-1)
Clare replied per N. Jordan (0-3), J. Smyth (0-3) and J. Cullinane (0-1).
Galway: J. Hegarty (Liam Mellows), S. Meade (Ballinasloe), N. Derivan (Tynagh), John Conway (Athenry), J. Duggan (Liam Mellows), Tom Conway (Athenry), J. Conroy (Mount Shannon), J. Salmon (Glen Rovers), P. Fahy (Craughwell), T. Sweeney (Fohenagh), T. O'Gorman (do.), Mickey Cullinane (Turloughmore), J. Casey (Liam Mellows), P.J. Lawless (Ballinalsoe), Ml. Cullinane (Turloughmore).
Subs: F. Madden (Fohenagh), P. Keane (Maree), J. Lyons (UCG), G. Cahill (Gort), P. O'Hoare (Kiltormer), S. Gohery (UCG).
Clare: M. Hayes, S. Custy, E. Long, T O'Donnell, C. Guinane, D. Sheedy, P. Henchy, F. Cleary, J. McCarthy, J. Smyth, J. Cullinane, N. Jordan, M. O'Shea, P. Vaughan, V. Henchy.
Subs: S.Cleary (for Cullinane) T. Purcell (for V. Henchy).
Referee: J. Stapleton
Our great "run" in 1961 came to an abrupt end when Tipperary defeated us in the Munster semi-final.
(But the tae and sandwiches were nice though!)