The Cats are favourites, but Galway must ask questions

Can the Galway backs hold the Kilkenny forwards?

Jason Flynn, part of a lively Galway forward line that should ask questions of Kilkenny’s rearguard.

Jason Flynn, part of a lively Galway forward line that should ask questions of Kilkenny’s rearguard.

Galway have had issues at full-back and centre-back over the past few years and it will be interesting to see if John Hansbury and Iarla Tannian are the men to solve those problem positions. 

The Rahoon-Newcastle man is inexperienced at this level and it will be a step up in class marking players such as Kilkenny’s TJ Reid who collected his second All-Star last year.

Turloughmore’s Ronan Burke was at number three last season, but without much game time this year, the management team is putting its faith in Hansbury.

Tannian is a really powerful man on the front foot, but Brian Cody, who has managed Kilkenny to 10 All-Ireland titles, will probably try to get Richie Hogan to run directly at Tannian to get inside him.

If Galway can dominate in those two positions, they will have one hand on the Bob O’ Keefe Cup.

Is Joe Canning back to his best?

In the Leinster final three years ago the Portumna man shot 1-10 and later that year collected his third All-Star. However, his form has not reached that standard in the past two seasons.

Thankfully, he looked like he was coming back to his best form in the two recent championship games against Dublin and Laois and his clash with Joey Holden is one to savour.

With the retirement of seven time All-Star JJ Delaney and to a lesser extent Brian Hogan, the Kilkenny rear-guard does not look as impregnable as heretofore.

The Galway inside trio of Canning, Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn looks very lively, and if they get supply, they will take stopping.

Canning is Galway’s talisman and a really big performance from him would boost the entire team.

Are Kilkenny as good as they looked against Wexford?

Kilkenny ripped Wexford to shreds in Nowlan Park in their semi-final victory, but is that a fair reflection of how good they are? How good were Wexford?

You would have to imagine that the numerous retirements Kilkenny have had over the past few seasons would have weakened their panel. Have the Galway forwards got what it takes to make inroads on the likes of Jackie Tyrrell, Kieran Joyce and Cillian Buckley?

The Cats are aiming to win All-Ireland title number 36 this season and they will be targeting the direct route.

We will know on Sunday if they can still power their way to success even without players such as Delaney and Shefflin in their ranks.


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