Galway must beat Limerick again to reach league final

This Sunday at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, the Galway hurlers will take on the home side at 2pm for a place in the league final.

Galway already beat Limerick at the same venue by 0-24 to 1-18 in their final round of the division 1B games three weeks ago. David Burke hit 0-6 from play, and Joe Canning, with 0-10, were key figures for Micheal Donoghue's side in that victory.

Since then Galway did splendidly to come from 10 points behind to beat Waterford by 2-22 to 2-19 in the league quarter-final at Pearse Stadium, with Joe Canning again the top scorer for the men in maroon and white.

Only back from a serious hamstring injury, Canning is Galway's top scorer with 3-31 (0-16 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’, 3-0 pens ) from the league games to-date.

Jason Flynn is next on the scoring leader board for Galway with 2-21 (0-14 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’ ).

Limerick beat Cork

Limerick are in the semi-final by virtue of a 1-20 to 1-18 win over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn in their quarter-final.

Their free-taker Shane Dowling is a fine player and accurate from the placed ball, so Galway defenders will need to restrict giving away unnecessary frees.

Dowling hit 0-9 (8fs ) in that win and he was ably assisted with 0-4 from Gearóid Hegarty, full forward Kyle Hayes, and Cian Lynch on top of the left. Their goal was scored by centre-forward David Dempsey.

The last time Galway reached the league final was in 2010 when they won the title after beating Cork by 2-22 to 1-17.

Only four from that starting Galway team in 2010 are still in the starting 15, Colm Callanan, David Burke, Aiden Harte and Joe Canning

No doubt that quartet and the rest of the Galway squad will be keen to get back to another decider seven years later where the winners in Limerick will face either Tipperary or Wexford who are in action in the other semi-final at Nowlan Park at 4pm.

It is difficult to beat any reasonable team twice inside the space of a few weeks and from that perspective, Limerick will have a bit of an advantage playing the "we won't let them beat us again" card.

The bookies have installed Galway as solid favourites at 8/11 with the Treaty men at 11/8. A draw is priced up at 8/1.

If Galway start as they finished against Waterford in Pearse Stadium for the last quarter and keep that type of intensity and work-rate going for 70 minutes, one would expect them to be good enough to win and get to the league final.

However, they cannot afford to be as lethargic as they were in the first 20 minutes of that tie or Limerick could have a serious lead built up, and they might not take their eye off the ball as Waterford seemed to.

With calibre players such as Joe Canning, Colm Callanan, David and Daithí Burke, the Mannion brothers, Johnny Coen, Conor Whelan, Joseph and Conor Cooney, Aiden Harte and Niall Burke in their ranks, Galway are good enough to advance. If they perform as they can.

Will they do so? That is the big imponderable.

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