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Early days but Galway are shaping with some promise

Galway 6-29

Laois 2-20

IT’S way too early in the year to be making bold statements about what 2024 might have in store for the Galway hurlers, but there was still a lot to like about this ultimate Walsh Cup demolition of an honest Laois outfit at Duggan Park on Sunday.

Most eye-catching of all was the slickness and cohesion of the Galway attack where Jason Flynn on the forty and three-goal corner forward Declan McLoughlin did most of the scoring damage. Throw in two green flags from newcomer Alex Connaire and the stunning sharpness of half-time substitute Evan Niland, the decent crowd of about 2,000 would have departed Ballinasloe in good spirits.

Though new team coach Eamon O’Shea is hardly a miracle worker, Galway’s ability to open the Laois defence, create space and isolate the player in possession bore some of the hallmarks of the former Tipperary manager’s template for productive forward movement. Goal scoring hasn’t always been the Tribesmen’s forte, but they bagged six on Sunday and that figure could have reached double figures.

There was also a strong showing from Galway’s new midfield alliance. Donal O’Shea picked off two points from play and his distribution was first class, featuring prominently in four of the Galway goals. Beside him, Gavin Lee built on the good impression he made against Offaly with another significant contribution, highlighted by raising four white flags.

Overall, there is no argument when a team puts 6-29 on the board but, at the other end, the concession of 2-20 must cause the team management some concern. Laois did particularly well in securing primary possession under their own puck out in the opening 25 minutes, with their physique causing the hosts some problems.

Centre forward Aaron Dunphy ended the game with 1-4 to his credit, while Willie Dunphy, Cody Comerford, Jer Quinlan and free-taker Stephen Maher also proved a handful at times. Unfortunately, their own defence was completely overwhelmed as the match progressed. Despite the presence of athletic number six Gearóid Lynch, their backs in general were beaten for pace on too many occasions.

Pictured: Galway’s Declan McLoughlin scoring one of his three goals despite the best efforts of Padraig Delaney of Laois during Sunday’s Walsh Cup tie at Duggan Park. Inset: Galway’s Gavin Lee breaking away from Tom Cuddy of Laois at Duggan Park on Sunday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

 

 

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