Supporting Opinion

Don’t be too troubled about Galway: look at Wexford, Cork and Tipperary

Inside Track with John McIntyre

OH the Lord save us! And Galway fans are worried that their hurlers are not quite burning it up like they anticipated. Well then, spare a thought for supporters of Wexford, Tipperary, and Cork this week whose teams are already in the midst of a battle for championship survival.

Sure, given Kilkenny’s list of missing influential players, it looked set up for a Galway victory at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, but that summary was simplistic, especially with Kilkenny in the opposition corner. Would Adrian Mullen and Eoin Cody, for instance, have done as well in Salthill as Martin Keoghan and John Donnelly, who aren’t always on their first fifteen?

That’s the thing with the Cats. It doesn’t matter who is playing, they nearly always front up. Of course, Galway boss Henry Shefflin doesn’t need any introduction to the Kilkenny mentality, but he was aware of the outside noise that the opposition’s walking wounded had cranked up the pressure on his team to win.

Galway didn’t manage that, but they weren’t beaten either despite playing second fiddle for a long period over the closing 35 minutes when backed by the wind. They had to battle hard for a draw but never shirked the challenge on a day Evan Niland again displayed magnificent accuracy after coming off the bench.

Unfortunately, a worrying pattern has emerged in Galway’s key fixtures so far this season – they have won none of them. They lost to Wexford in the Walsh Cup final; fell to Tipperary in the league; drew with Limerick in the same competition; and have now failed to better Kilkenny in the championship.

Though there were glimpses of Eamon O’Shea’s work with the forwards, the Kilkenny attack was more cohesive on Sunday, often getting their shots away without a Galway player close by.  The way half-back David Blanchfield was allowed to plunder up the field on the terrace side of the field was also a big concern.

Pictured: Galway’s Gavin Lee comes under pressure from Kilkenny’s Richie Reid during Sunday’s Leinster Senior Hurling Championship round-robin tie at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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