Saturday 24 September 2016

Galway 'bring physicality that no other team can' - Buckley

Published 05/09/2015 | 02:30

Kilkenny's Cillian Buckley
Kilkenny's Cillian Buckley

This week will have dragged for Cillian Buckley.

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Trying to keep a low profile is his preferred move on the week of All-Ireland finals. There'll be plenty of time for chat when the game is done.

"The odd evening I have off from training with Kilkenny, it's nothing too strenuous but I might go into the gym and take my mind off things," he explained.

"I'll get out on the bike, staying active to be honest, because sitting around you find your mind drifting and you'd drive yourself mad thinking about the match. It's just about trying to keep yourself busy whatever way you can."

It's three years since Brian Cody plunged Buckley and Walter Walsh into the All-Ireland final replay. Buckley had started that year's Leinster final but when Galway dismantled them, Cody opted for change.

The Dicksboro man made only cameos off the bench in the next two outings. He wasn't used at all in the drawn final before being reinstated for the replay. They won that day and he has hardly looked back.

He's used mostly as a half-back these days having previously been considered a midfielder, and he's aware of the various challenges the bulky Galway forward line will pose tomorrow.

"I don't think it's any secret that Galway are one of the biggest, most physical teams in the country so why not use it to their advantage?" he said.

Presence

"It's part of the game in football and hurling and from playing them over the years they definitely have that physical presence on the field.

"I'm sure they will try use that to their advantage in the All-Ireland final but it's something we are very capable (of) and will have to match on the day."

He sees a different Galway attack from the one that rocked into Croke Park for this year's Leinster final.

"They've changed their layout. The qualifier system brings advantages and disadvantages; one of the perks of it is that you get that run of games and that chance to experiment with things and I think Galway have got the chance to do that.

"I think they have learned their strongest line-out, which has changed from the Leinster final.

"They have new players coming in, we've seen the likes of Conor Whelan coming in since that Leinster final and he's really regenerated the Galway attack.

"They are definitely a different team, they are bringing that level of intensity and they are bringing that level of intensity and pure physicality that no other team in the country can bring."

There are plenty of new faces in the squad but Kilkenny and Buckley have been here before. His thoughts now are of making sure he's in the team to play tomorrow and then getting over the line once more.

"You set goals at the start of the year, of course you want to be in the team, of course you want to be in the panel but when you win it's a fierce sense of unity.

"Winning All-Irelands, no matter what involvement you have, is a fierce special feeling. For me, to win one, I can't think of any better day in my life so I just hope that in 2015 I can do it all over again."

Irish Independent

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