Hurlers need to improve to reach semi-finals

Pictured this week at the launch of the M.Donnelly GAA All Ireland Poc Fadafinals is Galway goalie James Skehill. Picture credit: David Maher

Pictured this week at the launch of the M.Donnelly GAA All Ireland Poc Fadafinals is Galway goalie James Skehill. Picture credit: David Maher

Few saw Dublin giving Galway a 12 point drubbing (2-25 to 2-13 ) in the Leinster final, and how the players and management team respond to that defeat will be interesting.

From that perspective, everyone will be watching closely to see how they perform on the back of that poor display, and asking the question - can they get their championship season back on track this Sunday, when they take on Clare in Semple Stadium (4pm ).

This will be a very tough assignment for the men in maroon and white, as Clare have shown some good form in their two recent victories over Laois and Wexford and have four championship games under their belts compared to Galway's two.

The extra-time required to shake off Wexford will also have brought them on a bit and Galway will have to produce a very good performance to knock Davey Fitz's team out of the championship.

In the likes of Tony Kelly, Darach Honan, Colin Ryan, and John Conlon, the Banner have some lively and impressive forwards and the Galway defence and midfield will have to up their form considerably from what was produced in the first half against Dublin.

Team manager Anthony Cunningham is keen to get going and get that Leinster final defeat out of the system.

"The players just want to get back into action and give it everything. It is a huge game for us. It is winner take all, and we will be going into the game fully fired up. We have to deliver a performance and make it count the next day.

"There are four teams in the quarter-finals and two in the semi-final, so the teams that win on Sunday will be right back in the mix. The players have worked really hard since the loss to Dublin and we all just want to get back out on the field and produce a top quality performance. The time for talking is over."

Galway are due to select their starting 15 later in the week and it will be interesting to see if there are many changes, personnel or positional, from the side that lined out on July 7.

However, regardless of what men are selected, unless there is a big improvement in intensity, work-rate, tackling, and tactical awareness all over the field from what was on show for the first half three weeks ago, Galway will be in trouble.

In the bookmakers, Galway are 4/5 to advance to the semi-finals, with Clare at 6/5, and the draw at 10/1.

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