Kilkenny or Dublin — Galway hurlers are set for a Croke Park battle
By JOHN FALLON
GALWAY produced another high-scoring performance to reach only their second Leinster SHC final but it seems their march through the province is raising more doubts despite huge margins of victory. The paucity of the opposition — hardly Galway’s fault — has been the primary reason for sub-standard games but Anthony Cunningham’s men have dealt with anything that has come their way.
Inevitably, the concession of big scores to obviously poor teams gives rise for concern but that tends to happen in mismatches where concentration levels dip.
The two games leave Galway somewhat ill-equipped for a high intensity Leinster final against either Kilkenny or Dublin — and don’t be a bit surprised if it is Anthony Daly’s men — but there was never much doubt at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise on Sunday but that they were headed for their second provincial final.
Cunningham and his management team of Mattie Kenny and Tom Helebert said much improvement is needed ahead of the Leinster decider, especially the concession of so many goals once again. “We would be disappointed with that: it’s something we have to work on. But the way the game is going now, there are often lots of goals,” he said. “The last day, there was 20 minutes go and we were up 19 points and we left in a few soft goals. But we were very happy with Kevin’s (Hynes) performance there today and Fergal’s (Moore) – we will be tested the next day but I think we have the options to keep the goals out as well. It’s going to be some battle! We have improvements to make, there is no doubt of that. We have to be sharper in our play the next day but that is another step-up. We’ve come through well and we’re happy.”
From the first whistle Galway showed their hand with devastating effect. After being given the nod ahead of Davy Glennon, Conor Cooney staked his claim to two superb goals inside a minute. On both occasions he beat Offaly full-back David Kenny under the high ball before driving for goal and finding the net, firstly after a neat dummy left Kenny hapless and secondly with a claver batted finish.
But the defensive frailties experienced in their previous outing against Westmeath reared their head again as Offaly hit back with a goal to leave a bizarre scoreline of 2-1 to 1-0.
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