Following last weekend’s impressive 0-28 to 1-12 victory over Dublin at Pearse Stadium, the county senior hurlers will head to Walsh Park this Sunday hoping to collect another two points against Waterford, and put themselves in a solid position in 1A of the National Hurling League.
While Galway looked both fresh and sharp last Sunday, it needs to be said, that Dublin were really poor, disjointed, and looked totally out of sorts once Galway forged ahead.
Galway manager Anthony Cunningham will have warned his panel to expect a much tougher battle in three days’ time, especially as Waterford were beaten by Tipperary (2-13 to 0-16 ) last weekend at Semple Stadium.
Waterford will be well up for this clash, especially on home turf, to make sure they do not suffer two defeats in a row.
They had good displays against Tipp from team captain Michael “Brick” Walsh at centre-back, Pauric Mahony at centre-forward ,who scored 10 points (9 frees ), and Kevin Moran at midfield.
Cunningham and selectors Eugene Cloonan and Damien Curley are unlikely to tinker much with team selection after what was an efficient and composed display.
Six players made their league debuts last Sunday for Galway, with Ronan Burke, Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn all starting and doing very well.
Burke looks like a player who could do a good job for Galway in the number three shirt. In the Railway Cup win over Munster, he went about his business with the minimum of fuss and manned the zone well.
Up front Mannion and Flynn hit four points each from play, and their continuous movement and accuracy was great to watch. Indeed the entire forward line rotated well and the Dublin defenders never seemed able to tie down their men at all.
Another positive from last Sunday was the way Padraig Brehony linked play around the middle.
The Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry man also slotted over two nice points from play and it was good to see him looking like a player starting to deliver on his immense talent. His partnership with David Burke worked around the middle and Dublin team captain and midfielder Johnny McCaffrey was substituted after only 30 minutes.
Commanding half back line
However it was the half-back line, where David Collins, Aidan Harte and the powerful Iarla Tannian lorded proceedings, that really caught the eye.
Tannian, in particular, dominated the centre-back position and Dublin could do nothing with him.
His ability to catch ball in the air is a big plus, and he has the power to break the tackle and come out. It would be massive for the team if he could keep that type of performance going over the coming months.
However, it will be interesting to see how other teams respond when they come up against Galway.
Overall, it was a solid display and the Galway fans I spoke to after the game were pleased to have made such a good start.
The secret now is to replicate it and try to come out of Walsh Park with another win. It does not have to be a 13-point victory. One will do.
For the record,Waterford are slight favourites to win the tie at the weekend.
The home side are 4/5, with Galway at 5/4 and the draw at 8/1.
Scorers for Galway: C Cooney 0-6 (5f ), N Healy 0-6 (1f ), C Mannion, J Flynn 0-4 each, J Glynn 0-3, P Brehony 0-2, D Collins, A Harte and D Glennon 0-1 each.
Galway v Dublin: C Callanan (Kinvara ), F Moore (Turloughmore ), R Burke (Turloughmore ), J Coen (Loughrea ), A Harte (Gort ), I Tannian (Ardrahan ), D Collins (Liam Mellows ), D Burke (cpt ) (St Thomas ), P Brehony (T-A-D ), C Cooney (St Thomas ), J Glynn (Ardrahan ), J Flynn (Tommie Larkins ), N Healy (Craughwell ), C Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh ), D Glennon (Mullagh ). Subs used: R Cummins, Daithí Burke, P Landers, K Hynes, D Dolan.