Saturday 20 January 2018

Forgotten Faithful are no pushover

Galway manager Micheál Donoghue. Photo: Sportsfile
Galway manager Micheál Donoghue. Photo: Sportsfile

Cyril Farrell

You will have heard nothing but respectful comments from Micheál Donoghue and the Galway players about Offaly ahead of tomorrow's clash but the rest of the hurling world seems to regard the second Leinster semi-final as no more than a training spin for the new All-Ireland favourites.

I know Offaly hurling people well enough to realise that has really irritated them. And if the public are annoyed by the dismissive attitude, you can imagine the galvanising impact it will have on the Offaly team.

On all known form, Galway will be too strong for them, but games between these neighbours tend to be deeply personal contests where previous trends don't always count. Offaly aren't expected to win so they can play with a sense of freedom, which can sometimes narrow the apparent divide.

However, they will need to step up a lot on their performance in the quarter-final, where it took two late goals from Shane Dooley to see off Westmeath.

I'm sure the sight of the Galway jersey will have the desired effect on them, but it won't be enough to deliver the shock of the season.

From a Galway perspective, it's about remaining solid and structured, getting their game working and doing enough to book in for a Leinster final clash with Wexford.

Off the pitch, it's an important weekend as the GAA's Central Council decide whether to take the proposals for a new Championship format any further.

Playing the Leinster and Munster championships in round-robin format is the main change, and while there will be reservations about effectively turning them into a league, I'd support the idea. The more hurling you can bring around the counties the better.

This is worth a shot for a few years to see how it works out.

Irish Independent

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