Smith happy to win ugly

It may not have been like Galway’s historic 10-point Leinster final win over Kilkenny, but Andy Smith, Galway’s 29 year-old midfielder, took plenty from their semi-final victory over Cork.

"At least we have that banked now going into the All-Ireland final, that we can win ugly too," he says.

Compared to their three relatively facile wins in the Leinster championship, Smith felt it was a better challenge.

"We were always on top in those three games, but at least we won ugly against Cork which is no harm at all. It was totally different [to the Leinster final]. We came out all guns blazing in the Leinster final. We knew well it was going to be a different game against Cork as they are a young, pacey side and we knew we wouldn’t get the space upfront.

"They dropped a man back and sorted of crowded it as well. We knew we were in for a tough shift, which it was."

Smith believes Galway’s performance and victory last weekend was down to showing Cork enough respect, and ignoring just how fancied they were to reach their first All-Ireland final in seven years.

"We don’t read into that, really. We knew Cork are a young, hungry team and knew we were going to face a massive battle last Sunday."

Smith was on the Galway panel which lost to Cork in that All-Ireland final back in 2005.

"Yeah, a few of us were there in ’05 and I think we just have to galvanise ourselves and not to be listening to the stuff that happens outside of training. We just have to regroup together. We’ll just have two weeks of hard training, then into the short, snappy stuff again. We just have to knuckle down and not listen to that stuff, because it’s irrelevant. It won’t win games."

Smith believes Anthony Cunningham, Mattie Kenny and Tom Helebert are just the men to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground.

"The management are doing a great job and the three of them are very knowledgeable men. They know what they want out of us and we know individually what our roles are."

Smith has no preference whether it is Kilkenny or Tipperary in the final.

"Not a bit — no, no. We’ll let them battle it out and see what happens. We’ve a lot of work to do and we’ll just worry about ourselves and let that result take care of itself."

 

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