Hurlers have taken ownership in bid to overcome Tipperary test

The Galway senior hurling panel will head up the motorway this weekend knowing they face a severe test of their All-Ireland credentials from Tipperary in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park (4pm ),

These counties have produced epic games in the last two years at this stage of the competition, and the hordes of hurling fans arriving at Jones Road early on Sunday afternoon will be hoping for more of the same in this encounter.

Galway are slight favourites - 10/11 - to continue their winning ways from their Leinster final success over Wexford. However, following their recent win over Clare in the qualifiers, Tipperary will feel they too are in a good place, and they will fancy their chances of taking down this year's All-Ireland favourites.

No injuries to report

Thankfully Galway have no injuries to report, with Cathal Mannion available for selection, and team manager Micheál Donoghue is delighted to have a full hand from which to select going into Sunday's clash.

"Coming in to a game of this magnitude you want a full deck, so it is good to have all the lads available," Donoghue says. "There is a lot of confidence from the results that we’ve had, a lot of trust and unity in the group. There is great leadership in the group this year.

"Every manager wants the group to take ownership. They are driving it themselves. We’re dealing with a group that are well experienced, that have played in a lot of big games, and they have taken ownership and are really pushing it hard which is a good sign. Hopefully that will bode well for Sunday."

It is five weeks since the Leinster final, but Donoghue is hopeful that gap will not be an issue.

"We were really mindful of the period from the league final to the Dublin game, those five weeks. We were very cautious on how we managed it, knowing that if we did win the Leinster final we’d have the same period again.

"We had a round of club games the first week, brought in a lot of variety for the two weeks after that, and our own internal games have been going well and have been very competitive, so hopefully we will be right for Sunday.

"It’s hard to know from what goes on at training. You are just hoping that it is up to the level required. We’re happy with the way it’s going so far, time will tell."

Another shootout a possibility?

In 2015 the game between these sides ended on a scoreline of 0-26 to 3-16, a one point win for Galway, and last year the tide turned and Tipp won by a single white flag too, 2-19 to 2-18, and the Galway manager is not ruling out another shoot-out between the sides.

“Yeah, I think it could work out that way. However, obviously you’re going into it with a mindset of how to minimise it. History has shown that’s probably what will end up happening. We know each other really well and sometimes that’s a big advantage and may be not so at times too.

"You ask yourself, what can we do differently? Or what can they do differently? And I suppose that’s the challenge for us.

"I think to be successful, you have to be knocking on the door at the business end the whole time. We’re dealing with a group that is really, really experienced and the biggest change from last year to this year is they’re taking huge ownership and they’re driving it themselves, so we’ll keep pushing it and see where we go.

"We are exactly where we want to be for this weekend. We’re going to have a good lash at it."

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