Hurlers prepare for in-form Rebels at Pearse Stadium

Galway's  Jonathan Glynn is held by Kilkenny's Paul Murphy in action from the Allianz  National Hurling League game at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway's Jonathan Glynn is held by Kilkenny's Paul Murphy in action from the Allianz National Hurling League game at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Anthony Cunningham's hurlers will face Jimmy Barry-Murphy's Cork this Sunday (2.30pm ) at Pearse Stadium in what has the makings of a top-class contest.

Cork were impressive 0-34 to 1-20 winners over Dublin last weekend in Croke Park and they had some terrific displays from Lorcan McLoughlin, Pat Horgan, who notched 14 points (10fs ), and Luke O' Farrell, who was named man-of-the-match and hit 0-4 from play from full-forward.

However, that victory came at a high price and their full-back Christopher Joyce will miss the rest of the season after doing his cruciate ligament early in that game. They are also currently without last year's captain Patrick Cronin and dual star Damien Cahalane who are both out injured. However, they still represent a formidable challenge for the home side.

That said, Galway will be buoyed by their 0-20 to 0-18 win over Kilkenny last Sunday on home soil and they will seek to get another two points in their last home game of the season. That would guarantee them a place in the knockout stages regardless of the result of their last game against Dublin on March 22.

Galway worked hard last Sunday to earn the two points on offer and it was good to see Joe Canning back from his hand injury. The Portuma man looked a bit rusty at times, but his sideline cut on the terrace side of the pitch just showed what is missing when he is out of the team. He was hungry for work and he looked like a man eager to get his starting place back at the earliest opportunity.

Gort's Greg Lally did well at centre-back too and he played the position well in what was his first game at this level. He linked play well, and made some timely interceptions and clearances before going off with an ankle injury in the last few minutes.

Kilkenny could have stolen it at the finish with a goal, only for a few super saves from Colm Callanan to keep Brian Cody's men at bay. The Kinvara man had a fine game.

Team manager Anthony Cunningham was understandably pleased with his side's commitment and work-rate.

"A tight win is always good for morale,” he said. “ There was great defending at the finish and a great few saves from Colm. We probably had a few chances we'd be disappointed we didn't convert, but there is always room for improvement. Sunday will be our last home game and we have targetted wins in all our home games."

Based on Cork's display against Dublin last Saturday night and current form, the bookies are right to have the Rebels as slight favourites at 10/11, with Galway at evens, and the draw is 10/1.

A draw is not beyond the bounds of possibility either as the last time the sides met in the 2013 Allianz league it was a draw.

 

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