David Collins says Galway must adopt a "we hate Tipperary" attitude
Captain believes Galway need to ‘nearly hate’ Tipp to maintain summer intensity
Published 12/08/2015 | 02:30
There has been an aggression about Galway hurling for much of the summer, a bluntness and directness, not just on the field of play.
It manifested in Anthony Cunningham's words to Brian Cody after the Leinster final.
"We'll see you in September."
It shone through in Johnny Glynn's immediate post-match reaction to the question of Galway being too dependent on Joe Canning in attack.
"F...... bullshit," that such a perception has even existed, the big man replied.
And you get that vibe too from David Collins' words as he looks ahead to Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final with Tipperary.
It's an interview but at times it can feel like a rousing team-talk, focusing on a renewal of an old rivalry that Tipperary have very much had the upper hand in.
Galway have lost both Championship matches since their last triumph in 2005, the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final and the qualifier last year in Thurles, a venue where they've lost to Tipperary in all but two of their last 18 meetings.
So Collins doesn't mince his words when he says they have to adopt the attitude now that they "nearly hate" Tipperary. He means it strictly in a hurling sense, drawing on the pain and frustration of so many defeats in their company.
He talks of "payback" and much "ammunition".
The batteries ran down in Thurles last year at the end of three games in 13 days against the two teams that have come to dominate the game in recent times.
"We played Kilkenny twice and Tipp once in 13 days. So there was fatigue there somewhere," he recalled.
"We were in the driving seat in Thurles with 15 minutes to go and we took the foot off the gas. So there's definitely payback there that we need to actually bring the next day, that we say 'we are as good, if not better than Tipperary'.
"We have to take it that we nearly hate Tipperary, that they're in our way and we need to get them out of the way. That's the attitude you have to take."
That bullish approach was reflected in Semple Stadium the last day against Cork, no one more so than Glynn with his barnstorming display leading the way.
From the off Glynn took his big physical presence to his opponents, sharply cutting through everything in front of him in the opening minute to score a goal that set the tone for the rest of the game.
"His goal typified our attitude that day. It was 'go down and take it to Cork and put it up to them'. That's where we wanted to go and that's what we did."
He even managed a delicate flick and control over Mark Ellis' head that had Collins reaching in the memory bank for Kevin Broderick's signature point in 2001 against Kilkenny.
"I was sitting in the stand (Collins had a hamstring injury) but I was looking at it kind of going 'this is not happening!'
"I was around when Kevin Broderick was finishing up hurling, straight away I turned to one of the boys and said 'that was a serious Kevin Broderick moment.'
"But it was fantastic. How he got away with it, how he didn't get milled going through, is another thing.
"Now, I've trained with Johnny obviously - and taking him down is like taking a crane down. He's solid. So you'd want to be taking him from the ankles down to get rid of that fella.
"He's only a young fella. He's still learning - and he has a lot to learn. But he's a great guy to train and a great guy to play with. He wears his heart on his sleeve."
Collins feels Galway have an edge to their training now that hasn't been prevalent enough during his 12 seasons on the squad, thus he senses a reason as to why they have missed out on All-Ireland semi-finals over the last two seasons.
"You could put it on a few things in terms of the intensity in training, lads fatiguing, lads kind of expecting to get back there. That's one of the biggest things that I see.
"When you're in an All-Ireland final, lads think you're going to be here every year," he reflected ruefully.
"When I look back to 2005, we thought we would be in All-Ireland finals year on, year off and it just didn't happen.
"Your attitude has to be right, the hunger and the desire has to be there, and the intensity that you bring to training every night has to be there. When Galway are like that, in that zone, we're dangerous. That's why we're here where we are."
That's why Collins knows reclaiming his place will be hard.
"I'm coming back from injury to get back on that team, that's where it's stemming from, lads are bringing that intensity to training all the time," the team captain explained.
"(Anthony) Cunningham, in fairness to him, is picking the team on training form. Look at (Conor) Whelan coming in, scoring 1-2. The aggression levels this year have been fantastic."
Yet Cunningham was under pressure himself just a few months back after Galway's league quarter-final defeat to Waterford in Walsh Park.
As Collins recalls, they struggled with Waterford's system and couldn't adapt. "We were unfamiliar with their 13 men behind the ball.
"I looked around at one stage and it was only Colm Callanan and (Maurice) Shanahan behind me, and I was thinking 'where is everybody else?' They had all retreated back up the field to defend. How do you play that game? That changed our attitude and our approach since."
Cunningham's message to Cody was something that he liked and picked up on.
"I was laughing at that! 'Yeah I like his attitude!' You have to want to be there. If he said 'yeah, we'll see them in a semi-final or we won't see them at all later in the year', what does that say? That would say to me 'Jesus does that lad actually believe in us'.
"I firmly believe we are going to be there, he firmly believes it and the whole team does, so that's the attitude you want and that's the attitude you need to have."
Sunday will reveal all.