Hurlers face Rebels in relegation play-off

The Galway senior hurlers take on Kieran Kingston's Cork this Sunday (3.45pm ) at Pearse Stadium in a game to decide which team will stay in division 1A for 2017 or be demoted to division 1B.

Galway have already defeated Cork this season - in the first round of the league on a score-line of 1-27 to 1-21 - and they are heavily fancied in most quarters to have the firepower to do so again this weekend.

The bookies have Micheál Donoghue's charges as 4/9 favourites with Cork available at 2/1 and the draw priced up at 10/1.

Galway are hoping to have defenders Johnny Coen and Padraig Mannion back available for selection which would strengthen the management's teams options at the back.

Based on performance and how the team improved when All-Star and team captain David Burke moved to midfield against Waterford, it is possible he will be given a starting role in that position.

Without the St Thomas player at midfield, Galway do not look as fluid or potent a team going forward. It is his best position and ideally he can be left there, but with the unfortunate cruciate ligament injury to Greg Lally, deciding who will line out at centre-back for the coming months is a big question that needs to be answered.

Following two solid draws with Tipperary and Waterford in their two last outings the mood in the Galway camp should be positive. If Joe Canning, Niall Burke and Davy Glennon can continue their good form up front they should have the scoring potential to rack up a match winning tally against what has been a leaky Cork rearguard during the five games they have lost.

The Cork defence have let in eight goals in their last three games, conceding 4-21 against Dublin, 2-23 in their one point defeat to Kilkenny and 2-27 in their most recent defeat to Tipperary.

Beating the same team twice in the same competition is never easy and no doubt the Cork team will come out onto Pearse Stadium well revved up to avoid relegation, and in Pat Horgan and Conor Lehane, they have two impressive forwards.

However, based on their respective form over the past few league outings, it is understandable that Galway are expected to avoid the drop.

There will be extra time if the game ends in a draw, and that is not beyond the bounds of possibility considering the hurlers have had two in a row and the Galway footballers have had three on the trot. Regardless of how long it takes, the only thing that matters is that the hurlers avoid relegation. Division 1B would be a distinct disadvantage for the up-coming championship and for next year too.



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