Tribesmen seal final slot with narrow victory
Eamon O'Shea, the beaten Tipperary manager, perhaps summed it all up best afterwards.
Hurling, he suggested, is a 'beautiful and brutal game'.
It was, of course, a beautiful day for Galway and Shane Maloney in particular who fired the winning score in injury-time, on his debut no less, as they joined Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final on September 6.
But it was an entirely brutal experience for Tipp, the favourites, who contributed in no small way to a classic Croke Park encounter in front 58,495 yet still came up a point short.
They could go looking in many areas for that vital one point that would have made the difference. Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan frustrated them with a string of great saves including one from Seamus Callanan's penalty five minutes from time.
Then again, Callanan helped himself to enough scores at Galway's expense, claiming an incredible 3-9 of his team's tally with an exhibition of attacking.
Padraig Mannion was on Callanan for the majority of the demolition and must have left Croke Park with scorch marks such was the roasting he received during the game.
Mind you, John Hanbury didn't fare much better when he moved onto the big Drom and Inch man, conceding the penalty with a crude pull down.
Galway weren't made to pay the ultimate price, though, and were kept in touch throughout by some wonderful point-taking.
They never raised a green flag all afternoon but didn't need to with Joe Canning scoring 10 points and ably assisted in the scoring ranks by Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn who hit 0-5 apiece.
Canning was centrally involved in the game's climax too when, with the scores tied deep into injury-time, he played a pinpoint diagonal ball down into the right corner-forward position and picked out Maloney.
There was still a little left to do for Maloney, the 2011 All-Ireland minor winning captain, though he escaped Cathal Barrett with ease before dissecting the posts with a drilled effort.
It prompted bedlam in the Galway crowd who, earlier in the day, saw their minor team also book a final place.
"Shane worked tremendously hard this year, wasn't on the league panel, wasn't fit enough and the harsh reality is that we have to let guys go if they're not at the level so Shane went away and worked tirelessly on his own," said Galway manager Anthony Cunningham.
"He's definitely one for the future, massive skill and keen to learn. No doubt that score and that win will bring him on a tonne."
Galway have won enough thrilling semi-finals since their last title success in 1988 to know that the job is only just beginning now though as they face up to a repeat of the 2012 finals.
Galway: C Callanan; J Hanbury, P Mannion, J Coen; Daithi Burke, I Tannian, A Harte; A Smith (0-1), David Burke (0-2); J Flynn (0-5, 0-01f), C Donnellan, J Glynn; C Whelan (0-2), J Canning (0-10, 0-6f, 0-1 65, 0-1 s/l), C Mannion (0-5). Subs: J Cooney for C Donnellan (53), D Collins for Smith (64), G Lally for Harte (65), S Moloney (0-1) for Cooney (69), P Brehony for Hanbury (70).
Tipperary: D Gleeson; C Barrett, J Barry, C O'Brien; R Maher, Padraic Maher, K Bergin; J Woodlock, S McGrath; J Forde (0-1), B Maher (0-1), Patrick Maher (0-1); N O'Meara, S Callanan (3-9, 0-3f, 0-1 65, 0-1 pen), J O'Dwyer (0-2). Subs: Shane Bourke for Forde (h/t), Lar Corbett for McGrath (56), N McGrath (0-01) for Bourke (62), C O'Mahony (0-1) for Woodlock (63), M Breen for R Maher (72).
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath).