Hurlers face Cats in Walsh Cup Salthill showdown

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham talks to his team during half time in the Walsh Cup game against UCD at Belfield.

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham talks to his team during half time in the Walsh Cup game against UCD at Belfield.

The Galway senior hurlers take on Brian Cody’s Kilkenny in the Bord Na Móna Walsh Cup final this Sunday in Pearse Stadium at 12.45pm.

It is the first game of an attractive double header which sees the footballers facing Louth in round two of the NFL at 2.30pm.

It is the third successive Sunday of action for the hurlers following two big victories over weak opposition.

Following their facile win over UCD, Anthony Cunningham’s team also gave Laois a good trimming last Sunday in Duggan Park, winning by 2-19 to 0-11.

Portumna’s Joe Canning hit 1-10 in an impressive display and it is good to see the two time All-Star coming back to top form and looking lean and fit.

Galway only led by 0-9 to 0-5 at half-time last weekend, but in the first minute of the second half St Thomas’s James Regan, who impressed on his introduction, hit a goal to put daylight between the sides.

Following points from the impressive Conor Cooney and Canning, Damien Hayes and Regan combined to set up Canning for another green flag and Teddy McCarthy’s team were out of their depth for the final quarter.

However Galway selector Tom Helebert was realistic about the team’s performance after the game.

“We have two games played and two wins which is nice, but we are a work in progress. We create scores when we move the ball fast, and the threat is in the inside line. We are looking at different things and Fergal Moore did well at centre-back. Everyone will get a chance to see if they pass or fail over the next few months and we are trying to build momentum for the league.”

Kilkenny will be a different test this Sunday even though few of their regulars are in action. The All-Ireland champions defeated Westmeath in their semi-final last weekend by 1-23 to 1-16.

Fielding a development squad side, Kilkenny cut the visitors open with their fast play in the first half, but they were reduced to 14 men, allowing Westmeath to fight back and make a game of it.

Despite that resistance, four John Power points, plus one from Ger Aylward, kept the Cats on track and set up this weekend’s final.

Galway team that defeated Laois in the Walsh Cup semi-final: J Skehill; D Connolly, T Óg Regan, D Collins; B Flaherty, F Moore, K Hynes; A Smith (0-1 ), J Coen; D Burke (0-1 ), C Donnellan, C Cooney (0-4, 0-1 65 ); D Hayes (0-1 ), J Canning (1-10, 0-8 frees ), D Glennon. Subs: J Regan (1-2 ) for Glennon (25 mins ); J Cooney for Donnellan (52 mins ); C Burke for Flaherty (65 mins ); T Haran for Canning (65 mins ).

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