Back to Tullamore for Galway hurlers on Saturday

With determination Galway captain Joe Canning powers past Kilkenny's Padraig Walsh and Richie Buckley in action from the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at O'Moore Park, Tullamore on Sunday which ended in a thrilling draw. 	Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

With determination Galway captain Joe Canning powers past Kilkenny's Padraig Walsh and Richie Buckley in action from the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at O'Moore Park, Tullamore on Sunday which ended in a thrilling draw. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Anthony Cunningham's senior hurlers must do it all again, and more, when they face their nemesis Kilkenny in the replay of the Leinster semi-final on Saturday in Tullamore (7pm ).

After last weekend's sensational and breathless final 10 minutes, the demand for tickets for this clash has gone sky high.

Everyone is hoping for another high-octane clash and after the stunning 3-22 to 5-16 draw last Saturday night, there are few who do not want to be in O' Connor Park to see the next shoot-out.

The fact that Galway eradicated a 10-point margin in the space of a few minutes in the drawn game had everyone with maroon blood in their veins in raptures, and the last two scores from Shefflin and Canning proved why hurling is such an extraordinarily fantastic game, and why those men are two of the game’s finest exponents.

Canning had a terrific game and ended with 2-3, but his contribution was much more than that. He won some superb possession from puck-outs and sprayed the ball around selflessly, working tirelessly for the team and giving a top class display.

In defence David Collins was heroic in the corner and steamed out regularly with possession. Iarla Tannian also hurled a lot of ball and both Ronan and Daithí Burke will have learned much from facing Kilkenny in senior championship hurling.

Andy Smith was a firebrand at midfield and he drove the team on with his passion and also notched one fine point. Watching him square up to Jackie Tyrrell in the first half left no one in any doubt as to his desire to be on the winning side.

Galway will name their team later this week, and it will be interesting to see if Jonathan Glynn did enough to earn a starting slot.

His height and power unnerved the Kilkenny full-back line and it is unlikely Galway would have secured a draw without his contribution.

Elsewhere, Pádraig Brehony struggled at midfield and he will need to up his contribution in the engine room if starting, if Galway are to advance.

Team manager Anthony Cunningham had mixed feelings at the end of the drawn game - satisfaction mixed with relief.

"I suppose we stayed plugging at it. We were at evens-stevens for a long period of the game and we were disappointed to concede 1-8 on the trot. We are certainly going to have to look at that this week. We will take huge confidence from our performance, but Kilkenny are hard to beat in a replay and we have to get that record right.

"At half time we said there were goals there, and once we got the first one there was always a chance of getting the next one. The first goal felt a bit like a consolation goal, and then we got the second. In championship anything can happen.

"Every time you play Kilkenny you learn. And while we were extremely happy with the character we showed in the last 10 minutes, it was great to come back from 10 points down. However it will mean nothing if we don't win next weekend. "

The pressure has also been ramped up with the losers facing a fresh Tipperary in the All-Ireland qualifiers, while the winners will be in a Leinster final against Dublin, with another bite of championship action guaranteed on July 27, regardless of how that final goes.

The bottom line is that Galway need to put Kilkenny to the sword this Saturday evening. Their season depends on it.

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