Tuesday 12 December 2017

Chronic bleeding problem costing Tribesmen dear

Galway's Joe Canning
Galway's Joe Canning
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

It's the poser Galway hurlers have been unable to solve in recent seasons, but unless they find a way to stop the bleeding, their chances of advancing to the Leinster semi-final next Sunday will be greatly diminished.

If one of the hallmarks of a really good team in any sport is the ability to battle through bad spells without conceding too much, then Galway have failed miserably. In fact, it has been a major weakness.

On nine occasions over the last three seasons, Galway have endured dreadful spells in games, conceding heavily while countering with very little.

It happened as recently as their final League game this season when they led Dublin by two points at half-time, before losing the second half by 0-13 to 0-5.

That wasn't as disastrous as last year's qualifier against Tipperary, where they led by six points after 50 minutes, only to be cut open by Tipp, who surged to a nine-point win.

That was not a one-off collapse: there were several other examples of spells where Galway leaked heavily and scored very little.

Earlier in the Championship, they scored 1-3 against Laois in the opening eight minutes, only to lose the rest of the half by 0-16 to 0-4.

And as Dublin seek to maintain their 100pc record against Galway in the Championship (four wins from four games), they will be encouraged by their experience in the 2013 Leinster final.

It was an even contest early on, but then Dublin went on a scoring surge that ripped Galway apart. Anthony Cunningham's men rallied but had left themselves with far too much to do.

Running into long barren spells remains massive problem for Galway as time when their confidence cannot be high after winning just two of their last nine championship games.

Here are the nine examples of Galway's bleeding issues:

2015 Allianz League

Galway led Dublin by 2-9 to 0-13 at half-time in Parnell Park in the final round of 1A games last march, but lost the second half by 0-13 to 0-5.

Result: Dublin 0-26 Galway 2-14

2014 qualifier

Galway led Tipperary by 4-12 to 1-15 after 50 minutes but lost the rest of the game by 2-10 to 0-1.

Result: Tipperary 3-25 Galway 4-13

2014 Leinster semi-final

Galway led Kilkenny by a point after 52 minutes, but were outscored by 1-8 to 0-0 over the next 12 minutes. They scored three late goals before Henry Shefflin and Joe Canning (below exchanged points to leave it level.

Result: Kilkenny 3-21 Galway 5-16

2014 Leinster quarter-final

Galway led Laois by 1-3 to 0-0 after eight minutes but lost the next 12 minutes by 0-9 to 0-1. They lost the period between the eighth minute and half-time by 0-16 to 0-4.

Result: Galway 1-22 Laois 0-23

2013 Leinster final

Galway were level with Dublin after 12 minutes but lost the next 31 minutes by 2-11 to 0-5.

Result: Dublin 2-25 Galway 2-23

2013 All-Ireland quarter-final

Level with Clare after17 minutes, Galway lost the next 19 minutes by 1-7 to 0-2.

Result: Clare 1-23 Galway 2-14

2013 Allianz League semi-final

Galway were level with Kilkenny after 22 minutes but lost the next 26 minutes by 1-12 to 0-4.

Result: Kilkenny 1-24 Galway 1-17

2012 All-Ireland final replay

Galway led Kilkenny by three points after 20 minutes but lost the next 34 minutes by 1-13 to 0-5, en route to a heavy defeat.

Result: Kilkenny 3-22 Galway 3-11

2012 All-Ireland final draw

Galway led Kilkenny by seven points after 32 minutes but were outscored 0-10 to 0-2 over the next 22 minutes. They later snatched a draw.

Result: Kilkenny 0-19 Galway 2-13

Irish Independent

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