Friday 23 February 2018

Goal-shy Galway will need green flags to beat Wexford

David Burke Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
David Burke Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

I have no idea what the odds were for Galway not to hit the net against Offaly, but, needless to say, you would have done well if you got your money down.

It was disappointing that Galway only threatened the Offaly goal on one occasion as they were effectively shut out, but despite below-par performances from three of their leading lights - Joe Canning, Jason Flynn and David Burke - they still clocked 33 points, which is a phenomenal return.

Offaly set up with eight defenders and asked a few difficult questions, but when Galway got to grips with the defensive system and started working the ball out the field and popping it over from the outside, it was a no-contest because they totally outnumbered them in the middle third.

Offaly simply don't have the same talent pool as years gone by (seeing Brian Whelahan being inducted into the Leinster Hall of Fame beforehand reminded everyone of the glory days). They were left with little option but to try and contain a physically imposing and skilful Galway side and that tactic kept them in it until the break.

The difficulty is that playing with that approach is energy-sapping. You have to go chasing the game with a lot less in the tank and holes that were plugged in defence before this are now wide open.

Galway looked far more assured when it was 15 on 15 and their class told in the end with a flurry of second-half points.

However, they'll have to hit goals against Wexford in the Leinster final. They were all taking their own points yesterday, but they'll have to take a leaf from Cork's book and link up better to create those openings, and force the issue when the opportunity arises.

They'll be worried about Cathal Mannion's availability after an ankle injury, but what an occasion it's going to be on July 2 in Croke Park. It's the first time in years that there will be as many at the Leinster final as the Munster final and it should be another epic.

Irish Independent

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