Galway can beat Tipperary with a consistent seventy minutes of football

The Galway footballers will head up the motorway to Jones Road this Sunday morning to face Tipperary in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park [4pm], hoping to be the first senior football team from the county to taste success at the venue since 2001.

It is difficult to comprehend that in the intervening 15 years since Galway defeated Meath by 0-17 to 0-8 in the All-Ireland final, the county senior footballers have not won a single game at headquarters.

The U-21s under the guidance of Alan Mulholland did annex an All-Ireland U-21 title in Croke Park in 2011 when they beat Cavan, and hopefully the lads from that panel, such as Tom Flynn who are involved on Sunday, will help lead the way to another win this weekend.

Tipperary will be difficult to beat and they will have taken a lot of belief from their one-point victory over Derry last weekend.

Their forwards such as Conor Sweeney, Kevin O' Halloran, and Michael Quinlivan are all very fine players and they will take serious watching by the Galway full-back line.

The three of them they notched 1-16 last Saturday [0-7 from frees and one 45] and the Galway defence and tracking players will have to be very mindful of not conceding frees as both O' Halloran and Quinlivan are very accomplished in that department.

Galway's defensive shield will have to be locked on

One of the big success stories of Galway's three championship games on the way to the Connacht title is how tight their defensive structure has been.

They have only conceded one goal in the three games, against Roscommon, and that was the result of a mistake when they had possession of the ball coming out the field.

It is critical for any team not to lose the ball as they work it out from defence, as a turn-over in that situation sees most of the defenders out of position as they have moved forward a bit to support the play and it can leave the centre channel open for exploitation.

Apart from that goal, Declan Kyne, Eoghan Kerin, Liam Silke, and David Wynne have looked very solid in their defending.

That shield, or zoned, defence will have to be in good working order and locked on to keep a high scoring Tipperary forward line at bay. And they will need Johnny Heaney, Eamonn Brannigan, Gary Sice, and both midfielders showing exemplary work-rate and tracking to support and bolster the Galway defence.

For Galway to win they will need their central diamond working hard and consistently for the full 75 minutes of action.

Tom Flynn and in particular Paul Conroy have been in top class form for Kevin Walsh over the past two months and they will be looking forward to a big joust with Tipperary's Peter Acheson and George Hannigan if he starts.

Galway have the fire-power to advance

If the Galway lads can dominate that middle third and get supply up to the in-form Danny Cummins who is flying at the moment, Damien Comer, and Shane Walsh, then Galway have the fire power to win the game.

The Tipperary defence has leaked a good bit in their three championship games to-date, 2-16 against Cork, 3-17 in the Kerry loss, and 2-17 against Derry last weekend. Based on those score-lines the Galway management team will be targeting a score of more than 20 points from their charges.

If the Galway forwards can hit in the region of 2-14 or 1-18 or 20 points, I would expect the Galway defence to keep Tipperary under that margin.

All the Galway players on the squad will need to be totally focused on the task in hand this week and pay Tipperary the respect they deserve.

With the correct attitude and with a consistent display of intensity, work-rate, and controlled aggression for the full game similar to the hurlers in Semple Stadium last weekend, I would expect Galway to be good enough to be in the All-Ireland semi-finals by 5.40pm next Sunday.

Silke's Verdict: Galway to win



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