Who will win the 2010 Galway county hurling final on Sunday?

Ray Silke asks three different local hurling aficionados who they think will be victorious on Sunday at Pearse Stadium and why.

Joe Rabbitte

Athenry manager

Who will win this Sunday?

Loughrea

Why?

I think Loughrea will just sneak a win as they have had the tougher run to the final.

It is difficult to see anyone beating the team that knocked Portumna out of the Galway championship.

They have an awful lot of experience and they know how to win on the big day having beaten Portumna in the 2006 final. They are a very strong team and, having been beaten in last year’s final, they won’t want to slip up this year.

Clarinbridge are a very fine side too, but I give the nod to Loughrea to come through.

Two key players on either side who will have a big say this Sunday?

Mark Kerins is a key player for Clarinbridge. He has been scoring well for them from centre-forward and, if they are to win, he has to have a big performance.

I rate him as a top player and he has given fantastic service to both his club and to Galway down through the years.

Damien McClearn is a fine player too. He always does the business for Loughrea at full-back and if he is on his game, it is very difficult to get the better of him. He is a very tough opponent, but a fair one, and he has been one of the best hurlers in the county for the past few year

Has 2010 been a good county championship in Galway?

Any year you win the county championship, it is a good year for your club. Neither Loughrea nor Clarinbridge are in any way worried about the standard of hurling in this year’s championship. The only thing that will be bothering them is to win on Sunday. A final is there to be won and that’s the bottom line.

Frannie Forde

Former Galway player and coach to Offaly hurlers in 2011

Who will win this Sunday?

Clarinbridge

Why?

I am basing that call on a hunch really. However, I have been very impressed with their style of hurling this year. They have played very well in a lot of their recent games and have racked up big scores in their wins over St Thomas and Tommy Larkins and they were very good in their semi-final win over Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry.

I think their style of hurling will be suited to Pearse Stadium.

Nobody expected them to win in 2001 either when they beat a very good Athenry side who were going for a four-in-a-row, by a point in Duggan Park.

They still have a few players from that success and they will be very keen to have another famous win. They have some very stylish hurlers and if they can match Loughrea’s intensity, I think they will win.

Two key players on either side who can have a big say this Sunday?

Johnny Coen can have a big display for Loughrea on Sunday. He is a fabulous young player and Loughrea will have to try to get him on the ball as much as possible if they want to win. He is very important to their cause and he has been a huge player for them over the past two years.

Alan Kerins is a big day player. Even going back to 2005 for Galway in their All-Ireland final defeat to Cork, I thought Alan did very well. He is invariably in good shape for the big games.

If he goes well on Sunday, it will mean that Clarinbridge are going well out the field and he is doing well on Damien McClearn who is a very important player for Loughrea at full-back.

If Alan gets the supply and he does well at full-forward, it will be a major boost for their chances of victory.

Has 2010 been a good county championship in Galway?

The standard of hurling has not been brilliant. In some of the bigger games there has been a lack of free-flowing hurling and the intensity of some of the games could be a lot higher.

On the positive side, though, the competition has been fairly open and a lot of teams will fancy their chances in 2011 if they put the hard work in early next year.

Ronnie Walsh

Carnmore’s corner back and captain in 2010

 

Who will win this Sunday?

Loughrea

Why?

They are very mentally tough. They bounced back from a heavy defeat in last year’s final and went out and tore into Portumna in the semi-final and deservedly won the replay. They are a better team this season and added a few new players that have freshened things up a lot for them.

The fresh impetus that the likes of Paul Hoban and Neil Keary have brought seems to have revitalised the team.

Johnny Coen and Emmet Mahony have also really been doing well and have matured a lot and are better players than last year. They have really been to the fore and have added a lot to the team’s play.

Those younger fellows have fed off the mental fortitude of the likes of Johnny Maher and Nigel Shaughnessy and they look like a team that is going all out this year to collect the county cup again.

There are very few teams in the county that can beat them when they are playing well, but Clarinbridge is one of them. I don’t expect there to be a lot in it, but I do fancy Loughrea to collect the cup.

Two key players on either side who can have a big say this Sunday?

Damien McClearn is a key player for Loughrea. He is a tough seasoned campaigner and he has been around the block. He was their captain in 2006 and he is an inspirational figure for them. If he is going well, the other defenders feed off that, and lift their game. He is not easy to get past.

Alan Kerins is vital for the Clarinbridge cause on Sunday. He will probably be facing McClearn and it should be a key battle. He has truck loads of experience at both county and club level and, if he was to do really well on McClearn, winning frees and getting a few scores from play, it would be a massive boost for his team’s chances of an upset.

He usually does well on the big day and he will have to do it again this Sunday.

Has 2010 been a good county championship in Galway?

I don’t know if the standard of hurling has been brilliant, but the fact that Loughrea beat Portumna is probably a good thing as it gives lots of other clubs ambition for next year.

Seeing Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry getting to a county semi-final this year gives renewed hope to a lot of clubs, that if they get into the right frame of mind and get really fit, they have a chance of getting to the final stages and, who knows, even into a county final.

From that point of view it has been a good county championship and hopefully we’ll have a high quality final on Sunday to remember too.

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