Sunday 11 December 2016

Settled Rebels to trump unpredictable Galway

Cyrill Farrell

Published 25/07/2015 | 02:30

Mark Ellis: 'A commanding figure'
Mark Ellis: 'A commanding figure'

Cork v Galway could turn into a tale of two full-back lines - specifically, which of them fares better than has been the case up to now.

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Of course, their colleagues - and management - have a major role to play in working a system that keeps full-back line exposure to a minimum. Cork did it well against Clare by retreating Mark Ellis (right) closer to goal.

He was a commanding figure, albeit in open space, so if Cork go for a repeat, Galway will need to match him up with someone who keeps him fully occupied, rather than having time to pick his option with clearances.

As ever, the big question for Galway is: which version will turn up? It needs to be slicker than the one which, apart from a period before and after half-time, struggled against Kilkenny.

It's generous to Galway to say that even four of their 14 outfield players won their personal battles, so how they hung so close until the final 10 minutes is puzzling.

With the exception of Andy Smith, Galway got very few deliveries from half-back/midfield, leaving Joe Canning and Cathal Mannion isolated inside.

If Galway are to prosper, they need to hurl far more ball in that area, rather than looking to the half-forwards to carry it in. That's far too slow and give the defence time to settle.

Naturally, I'd love to see Galway hit one of those really special days and turn in the sort of display we know they are capable of, but I suspect that Cork are that bit more settled, which could be the match-winner.

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