Intriguing key battles to watch on Sunday

Tony Óg Regan (Rahoon/Newcastle) v Henry Shefflin (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

If  the Galway forwards need to improve their scoring prowess on Sunday, much will also depend on Tony Og Regan who faces Henry Shefflin, the Kilkenny player who singlehandedly turned the tide for his side three weeks ago.

If the Galway forwards need to improve their scoring prowess on Sunday, much will also depend on Tony Og Regan who faces Henry Shefflin, the Kilkenny player who singlehandedly turned the tide for his side three weeks ago.

The way Henry Shefflin dragged his team back from the abyss in the drawn All-Ireland final was one of the great displays of leadership on a GAA field.

Hurling is a team game, but it is played by individuals, and Shefflin is one of the all-time greats in that regard.

Ten All-Stars, eight All-Ireland medals, and 27 goals and 461 points in 61 championship appearances since 1999 is testament to that fact.

Considering how well he did when he was moved to central positions in the drawn game, it is highly likely that Cody will move his on-field general to centre-forward at some stage next Sunday.

Shefflin is 33 now and, if he can be nullified, it would be a massive boost for Anthony Cunningham's team.

If he plays at centre-forward it is Tony Óg Regan who will be charged with that tour of duty.

At 6' 3" and 14st 11lbs the Rahoon/Newcastle man has the physique and power to be a match for Shefflin. Tony's concentration levels will have to be razor sharp for the full 75 minutes as Shefflin has the ability to do damage in an instant and his ability to bring teammates into play is uncanny.

Regan may have to bat the ball down to stop Shefflin getting clean possession in the air and if that is the tactic he employs, it will be incumbent on the rest of the Galway half-back line, midfielders and half forwards to be ready to pick up the breaking ball.

No more than Canning for Galway, if Shefflin can be stopped or at least contained, it will be a massive plus for Galway's chances of lifting Liam.

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