Sunday 17 November 2019

Coen believes Galway have learned from last season's late ambush

Galway's Johnny Coen believes his team have learned from their championship exit last year
Galway's Johnny Coen believes his team have learned from their championship exit last year

Daragh Small

It was tough to stomach at the time but Galway defender Johnny Coen believes the championship exit they suffered last year to Tipperary will stand to them in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final.

The Tribesmen were coasting to victory going into the final quarter but Tipp came storming back and destroyed them in the closing stages.

Coen, a former Young Hurler of the Year, said it was a harsh lesson but he reckons it will drive them on Sunday in Croke Park.

The 24-year-old Loughrea clubman started at wing-back in a game where Galway assumed control and were well on the road to victory.

They were six points clear with 19 minutes left but failed to turn the screw and Tipp came roaring back to win 3-25 to 4-13.

Coen believes Sunday presents Galway with an opportunity for redemption in their All-Ireland semi-final against the Munster champions at Croke Park.

Coen, who made his championship debut against Westmeath in 2011, says Galway are more hard-nosed this time.

"We get a goal and we are looking to see the game out but it is something that we need to be addressing. Seeing out games, driving on, getting the killer blow that we have seen from Conor Whelan against Cork.

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"The heartbreak of last year playing down in Thurles. You are out of the championship by the start of July. You have a serious amount of time to be looking on and you really want to be in a semi-final or final.

"You really want to be taking a serious look at yourself and saying are you really trying your best or are you just showing up every now and then," said Coen.

In that Round 1 qualifier last year, Coen held Gearóid Ryan scoreless for 69 minutes before Ryan was replaced.

This year Coen has been moved to a corner-back where he thrived when Galway reached the All-Ireland final in 2012, where they lost after a replay to Kilkenny.

He could well be given the task to silence the in-form All-Star John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer on Sunday.

O'Dwyer hit six points in the win over Galway last year and in this year's championship his tally stands at 0-12 after just two games.

"I marked John a small little bit in the league this year. I didn't do too bad but the league is different from championship.

"He has shown serious skill and determination this year, he really has been driving on.

"But every game is different, we have to sit down and see what they are about and make our own judgment on how we are going to handle them," added the defender.

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