Galway hurlers enter the real championship

This month 10 years ago in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park Waterford gave Galway a good trimming in Cyril Farrell’s last day in the managerial hot-seat. The Déise men won handily on a score-line of 1-20 to 1-10 with Tony Browne in superb form, hitting 0-7 from midfield.

Waterford had been beaten in the Munster final by Clare that year but they bounced back from that bitter defeat to give a much improved display in seeing off the Tribesmen.

That is a lesson that the hurlers will have to take on board for this Saturday in Thurles. Just because a team does not make it out the front door of the Munster championship does not mean that they are out on their feet. They are still dangerous opponents.

No doubt Ger Loughnane will tell his players to be wary of the potential sting in the Rebel’s tail this Saturday. Complacency should not be a factor from a Galway perspective.

Admittedly Cork have not been moving well and the fact that they limped past Dublin with only five points to spare last weekend does not augur well for their season.

However Gerald McCarthy will have his defensive troops on red alert for the challenge that the Galway attack will pose for them.

He will only have to remind them that they had conceded 2-15 by half-time in the league semi-final against Galway and a repeat of that kind of generosity will definitely see them out of the 2008 championship.

Galway will have learnt little from their hammerings of Antrim and Laois and it remains to be seen if they can shift up a few gears to meet the bigger challenge of a team that won back-to-back All-Irelands in 2004 and 2005.

If Ger Loughnane is to deliver on his stated objective of winning an All-Ireland inside his two year tenure, then a Galway victory is guaranteed, it is only the margin of the win that has to be decided. Championship does not work like that though. That said; despite some continuing concerns about the solidity of the Galway rearguard, the expectation is that Galway’s greater desire for a good championship run, and a more fluid attacking sextet, should see them through with a little to spare.

For those seeking a trip down memory lane the team and substitutes that lined out for Galway 10 years ago on Sunday July 26 1998 against Waterford was: Richard Burke; Gregory Kennedy, Liam Hodgins, Brian Feeney (Cpt ); Padraig Kelly, Vinnie Maher, Paul Hardiman; Michael Coleman, Liam Burke; Alan Kerins, Joe McGrath, Kevin Broderick; Daragh Coen, Joe Rabbitte, Ollie Fahy. Subs used: Francis Forde, Justin Campbell and Brendan Keogh.

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