Tribesmen poised to seal U-21 redemption
Published 10/09/2011 | 05:00
A year ago to the day, Tipperary's hurling world looked perfect as the U-21s joined the seniors as All-Ireland champions.
The Galway lads had to stand and watch the Cup being presented, no doubt feeling pretty small after a big defeat. A year on, several of them -- and manager Anthony Cunningham -- are back in Thurles with a chance to redeem themselves.
Opponents Dublin are trying to salvage something on the All-Ireland front and a Galway win would complete a minor/U-21 double, leaving the seniors as the underachievers yet again.
Galway are favourites, but they will need to play really well to win. This is a big, strong Dublin team, a reality which Wexford encountered in the Leinster final where the physical difference between the sides was probably the match-turner.
Skilful Galway were very impressive against a highly rated Limerick team in the semi-final. There's also enough intensity in their play to cope with Dublin, so I'd expect a narrow Galway win.
A final thought for the season. As a Galwayman, I was delighted to see Mattie Murphy leading the minors to what was his sixth All-Ireland as a manager but there's no doubt that Clare, whom they beat in the semi-final, were the unluckiest team in any grade this year.
This is a seriously good group of Clare players, but they didn't enjoy any luck against Galway, first when they were hit for a levelling goal late on in normal time, and then when what would probably have been the match-winning free hit the post.