Galway can shrug off shaken Deise
Published 23/07/2011 | 05:00
IT'S just as well there's a second chance in the championship these days -- otherwise Galway's summer would have ended after a dismal performance against Dublin last month, while Waterford's season would be lying under the debris of the Munster final demolition.
Galway have relaunched with impressive force while Waterford have an opportunity to banish the horror of the Tipperary massacre. However, Waterford's problem is that they simply don't know how much damage was inflicted last Sunday week.
There's no manual offering advice on how to recover from a seven-goal defeat. Waterford's confidence has to be badly shaken so it's crucial for them to start well tomorrow. If Galway were to get an early run on them there will be no way back, but if Waterford can hang on in there they will believe that, as in 2009, they can course Galway down over the final quarter.
Galway are better now than two years ago and, having blown out the dirty petrol that left them short of acceleration against Dublin, they are well poised to deliver another good performance.
There's more shape and structure to the defence now; their midfield has increased efficiency, while Joe Canning and Damien Hayes are leading an attack which underlined its productivity against both Clare and Cork.
The one concern for Galway would be a return of the inconsistency which has bothered them for years. If they avoid that, they will win tomorrow and present Kilkenny with a real challenge in the semi-final.
The Waterford players and, in particular, manager Davy Fitzgerald took heavy criticism after the Tipperary defeat, but they know that goes with the pressurised territory that is the championship and won't be unduly bothered by it.
In fairness to Waterford, Tipperary enjoyed one of those special days when everything went to perfection.
Having said that, you wouldn't expect the likes of Waterford to lose so heavily. They have had two weeks to recover and reassess where they stand. The Deise will do much better tomorrow, but it's difficult to see them turning things around to such a degree that they can beat Galway.