Hurlers need to hit form against the Cats on Sunday

The Galway hurlers head to Tullamore (4pm ) on Sunday to take on Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final.

Dublin await the winners in the final.

Brian Cody's men are strong favourites to advance to that final, and are 2/5 with the bookies to do so, while Anthony Cunningham's charges can be had at 9/4 or better.

Kilkenny's demolition of Offaly by 26 points (5-32 to 1-18 ) in their first round game has much to do with people's views that Kilkenny are back to themselves. However, the paucity of Offaly's challenge in that tie has also to be taken into account.

Galway did not impress in their Leinster championship outing against Laois and they will need to improve significantly on that form if they are to seriously challenge the Cats.

Team manager Anthony Cunningham believes the character and talent in his squad will do just that.

"We have trained extremely well and we know that we have to hit top form. You have to do that playing the top teams and we are confident we can do that.

"We have played Kilkenny three times this year and there has not been much between us in any of those games and I expect the same heading into the semi-final. We are in good form and confident and ready for battle and we are going to Tullamore to win that game."

The team had a good workout last week in a challenge against Tipperary at Pearse Stadium and that friendly finished with a 3-27 to 4-17 scoreline. However, trying to read too much into challenges is folly.

Galway will select their team later in the week, and there will be genuine interest to see where team captain Joe Canning is selected. The general consensus is that he will be moved from the corner forward role he has held over the past few competitive games.

The Galway team management will be hoping for big performances from key players such as Colm Callanan, Fergal Moore, David Collins, Daithí Burke, Conor Cooney, David Burke, Johnny Coen, and of course Canning.

The last time this Galway team really opened up was two years ago when they surprised many people with a scintillating performance and a 2-21 to 2-11 win over Kilkenny in the Leinster final.

Galway supporters will travel to Tullamore this Sunday hoping their team can produce something like that and surprise most pundits.

It will not be easy and Kilkenny have some top players in JJ Delaney, Jackie Tyrrell, Paul Murphy, Michael Fennelly, Richie Hogan, Eoin Larkin and Colin Fennelly. Both Henry Shefflin and Richie Power are also back in action and may feature this weekend.

Looking at their subs bench, which includes Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan and Aidan Fogarty, Galway

need to come out of the dressing-room with all guns blazing.

It is difficult to look past a Kilkenny win, but this team like many other Galway hurling teams in the past have proven themselves capable of producing a master class when least expected. Hopefully, this Sunday will be one of those days.

Train for hurling

Iarnród Éireann will provide an extra return train service for Sunday’s Galway v Kilkenny hurling championship game.

The train will depart Tullamore at 5.50pm, Ballinasloe at 6.45pm, Woodlawn at 6.54pm, Athenry at 7.05pm, Oranmore at 7.16pm, arriving Galway at 7.35pm.

Tickets are now available on-line at www.irishrail.ie or at a local Iarnród Éireann Station.

Iarnród Éireann advise supporters they will not be able to board trains unless they are in possession of a train ticket.

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