Hurlers face Cody's cats on home turf on Sunday

The Galway county senior hurlers will know a fair bit more about their progress after they play the 2014 All-Ireland champions Kilkenny at Pearse Stadium (2pm ) in round three of the National Hurling League.

Brian Cody's men have been the kingpins of hurling for the past decade or more and, while they have lost a few big name players to retirement over the past few months, including the outstanding JJ Delaney at full-back, there are very few who do not expect them to be there or thereabouts come the business end of the season.

They were well beaten by Dublin by 0-25 to 3-11 in Nowlan Park in round two of the league two weeks ago, and they will coming west this weekend gunning for vital league points.

The absence of a few of their star players due to club commitments with Ballyhale Shamrocks is a big plus for Galway and definitely weakens Kilkenny's hand.

Anthony Cunningham will have targeted all his home games in the league and, having gone down by four points, 2-18 to 0-20, against Tipp the last day out, he and his management team will have stressed the need for a big performance from his panel this Sunday. A win would set them up nicely for the game against Cork (Sunday week ) which is also a home fixture.

Galway do not beat Kilkenny that often and they are seeking their first win over the Cats since the first round of the 2013 Allianz League.

Since then the counties have clashed on five different occasions (2013 and 2014 Allianz League semi-finals, 2014 1A, 2014 Leinster semi-final (twice ), with Kilkenny winning four and drawing one.

A big positive is that Galway battled really hard in both their victory over Clare and their defeat against Tipperary, and they will need to do more of that in three days’ time. Hopefully they will have learnt their defensive lessons from gifting Tipperary two soft goals that blew their chances of getting anything in Semple Stadium.

Galway will look to the experienced David Collins, Iarla Tannian and Gearoid McInerney in their half back line to provide good quality forward passes for Jonathan Glynn, Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn to link up play and post a match winning tally. Joe Cooney has also been in good form and hopefully he can continue in that vein.

The bookies have both teams at evens with the draw at 8/1.

With home advantage, a good work-rate, and a few leaders emerging up front, and Kilkenny down a fair few options between retirements and the Ballyhale lads focusing on their All-Ireland club final, it is a game Galway are well placed to win.


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