ONE of these days, Galway won’t win the toss.
Then, we’ll get to see how they hurl without the early aid of a whooshing gale, the comfort of an impregnable half-time lead and with the snarl of competitive opposition in their ears over the tense final throes of a Championship match.
Until then, we’ll just have to marvel at their elaborate repertoire of skills, as we did in Tullamore today, whilst they decorate opposition from an artistic spread of distances and angles.
Laois were the victims today. Dublin, a fortnight previous.
Croke Park, where Galway play their Leinster final on July 5th , represents far less exposed terrain and both Kilkenny and Wexford - their prospective opponents - not nearly so vulnerable to an element-enabled massacre.
But Anthony Cunningham’s team have made hay while the wind blew in their favour in their latest assault on their adopted provincial title.
Laois, forewarned and thus forearmed by Dublin’s shambolic efforts at defending against such a squall, kept it tight today for about 20 minutes but no sooner had the dam cracked when it burst.
‘Cheddar’ Plunkett’s men started out with a sort of five man full-back line, featuring three orthodox defenders, a sweeper in Joe Campion, and Matthew Whelan man marking Joe Canning.
And given their recent historical propensity to annoy, constrict and frustrate Galway, Laois looked dangerous opposition at that very stage.
For every action though, there must be a reaction.
And Laois’ inclination to densely populate their own full-back left large green patches of space for Galway’s deeper-lying men.
By way of illustration, each member of the Galway full-back line had scored from long range by the 25th minute.
The most significant of that bunch was a goal from Johnny Coen, a delivery from about 100 metres than owed its assist equally to the wind that carried it and the sun that blinded Eoin Reilly in the Laois goal.
That score made it 1-3 to 0-2 but by half-time, with Galway easing through the gears, it read 1-12 to 0-2.
Joe Canning found plenty of ball in a roaming roll and wound up with the princely bounty of 1-15 (0-9f, 0-2 ‘65).
Laois, to their credit, hit the first three points of the second half to briefly infuse some hope of a contest but when Canning held off two players to catch an under-flighted Andy Smith shot and bat a Galway goal, the rest was cosmetic.
Davy Glennon came off the Galway bench to pilfer 1-2 but Laois were long since beaten.
SCORERS - Galway: J Canning: 1-15 (0-9f, 0-2 ‘65), D Glennon 1-2, J Coen 1-0, P Mannion, A Smith, David Burke, N Healy 0-2 each, J Hanbury, C Mannion, P Brehony 0-1 each . Laois: Z Keenan 0-5 (3f, 2’65), S Maher 1-1, P Purcell 0-3, P Whelan 0-2, J Campion, T Fitzgerald, C Dwyer 0-1 each.
GALWAY: C Callanan; J Hanbury, P Mannion, J Coen; Daithí Burke, I Tannian, D Collins; A Smith, A Harte; David Burke, C Donnellan, J Glynn; C Mannion, J Canning, N Healy. Subs: D Glennon for Healy (39), P Brehony for Harte (52), G McInerney for Collins (55), F Moore for C Mannion (60),
LAOIS: E Reilly; B Stapleton, M Whelan, C Healy; J Fitzpatrick, T Delaney, J Delaney; D Palmer, P Purcell; J Campion, S Maher, C Dwyer; Z Keenan, T Fitzgerald, W Hyland. Subs: P Whelan for J Delaney (46), N Foyle for Campion (54), B Conroy for Fitzgerald (63)
REF: F Horgan (Tipperary)