John McIntyre’s panel will be looking to follow up their fabulous win last weekend in Nowlan Park with another success this Sunday against Dublin in Pearse Stadium at 2.30pm.
Another win would put them in a good position to qualify for the league final on the first Sunday in May.
The Dublin hurlers slumped to another defeat against Cork last Sunday and they are in real danger of relegation from division one, along with Limerick, if they don’t get something from this weekend. As a result they will be keen to re-energise themselves and try to get something from their trip west.
Anthony Daly will know his panel face a tough task in trying to collect even a point against a Galway side that will be full of confidence and self-belief after victory against the All-Ireland champions.
Galway were 11/4 for a win going down to Nowlan Park and they showed fantastic mettle and desire in coming from five points down to go on and win the game.
Substitutions played a key role in victory
A key factor that turned the game Galway’s way was the impact made by McIntyre’s forward substitutions. All three players brought on in the forwards played a significant role in determining the outcome, which is always pleasing from management’s perspective.
Iarla Tannian notched 2-1, Kevin Hynes 0-2, and the display of last year’s All-Ireland winning minor captain Richie Cummins really caught the eye. His determined running at the Kilkenny defence set up Tannian’s two goals and earned the praise of his manager.
“We need to run more at defences,” said McIntyre. “Richie hasn’t a trace of fear and he’s fleet of foot. He’s here to stay.”
The Galway panel and management team were rightly delighted with their win and the self-belief and confidence the triumph will bring can only stand the panel in good stead for the future battles that lie ahead this season, particularly as the win was garnered without any of the Portumna players who were due to return to training this week.
“For Galway to come back from five down against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park was huge for us, especially after having collapsed against Tipperary,” said McIntyre. “ Ten minutes into the second half there was a real feeling of deja vu in the context of what happened to us against Tipp. If it happened to us again, you’d really be worried about the future and I’m thrilled for the players. They had to show a bit of backbone, a bit of character and they learned from the Thurles experience which was a bad one for the team management and players alike.”
Galway’s destiny is now in their own hands and they are in a very strong position to qualify for the league final. The two remaining games are both at home - this Sunday and then on April 18 against the current league leaders Cork.
No room for complacency
Dublin defeated Galway last year in the league and there will be no complacency by either the players or management. However anything except a home win would be a woeful result.
If the team can go to Nowlan Park and defeat Kilkenny, they should surely be capable of winning a home game against Dublin. If they want to go on and become the best team in the country, they need to become really consistent and they need to show that ruthlessness this Sunday.
It is early in the year, but last Sunday’s victory is hopefully a presage of better things to come.
The Galway team that defeated Kilkenny was: J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Joyce; D Collins, J Lee, D Barry; G Farragher (0-9, six frees, one 65 ), D Burke (0-1 ) ; A Callanan, C Donnellan (0-4 ) , E Ryan; A Harte (0-3 ), J Gantley, N Healy (0-1 ). Subs: K Hynes (0-2 ) for Callanan (51 mins ), I Tannian (2-1 ) for Gantley (53 mins ); R Cummins for Healy (58 mins ), C Callanan for Skehill (64 mins ), T Regan for Lee (79 mins ).