Sport Hurling

Thursday 19 July 2018

Tipp legend Eoin Kelly explains why Croke Park 'isn't an ideal venue for a Leinster final'

Daithí Burke of Galway during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daithí Burke of Galway during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Tipperary hurler Eoin Kelly feels there will be a better sense of occasion when Kilkenny and Galway lock horns in their Leinster final replay at Semple Stadium on Sunday.

The sides played out an attritional 0-18 to 0-18 draw at Croke Park last Sunday but GAA headquarters is unavailable this weekend with the Michael Bublé taking over the stadium.

Kelly feels the change of venue will make for a better game.

"I don’t see Croke Park as being the ideal venue for a Leinster final," he told Paddy Power News.

"You’ll see a change of view after Sunday’s Leinster final because it will be on in Thurles, it’ll be an opener game, you’ll get more scores there and it will feel like more of an occasion. But, are Kilkenny going to be beaten by Galway three times in the championship as it rolls on? It’s hard to do that.

"I still think Galway and Kilkenny are going to end up in an All-Ireland semi-final. "

Galway skipper David Burke made headlines in the lead up to the drawn game by claiming that the Cats were afraid of the reigning All-Ireland champions and Kelly believes Micheál Donoghue would not have been thanking his midfielder for the remarks.

"You wouldn’t be happy. And I think David Burke would have been disappointed when he saw the headline," he added.

"I think it might have been taken out of context. But I’m sure it was used as a motivating factor for the Kilkenny players though.  They’ve got lads of the calibre of TJ Reid, Walsh, Colin Fennelly, Hogan and Paul Murphy.

"Let’s call a spade a spade, those lads are not used to being beaten by Galway in championship hurling. He would have been saying ‘Look, let’s show these boys we’re not gone away’.

"I thought Micheal Donoghue tried to rectify it speaking after the match when he said they had the height of respect for Kilkenny. But these are the little challenges that Galway have to handle as champions and odds-on favourites to win back-to-back championships. It’s the first time we’ve heard them say anything in the last 12 months!"

Kelly is predicting provincial success for the Tribesmen this weekend.

"There was a lot of hype in the week leading up to it with David Burke’s few comments, but they knew Kilkenny would come at them extra hard.Not that Kilkenny would need motivation but something like that would do the trick.

"Micheál Donoghue would have seen that coming, but I think Galway would feel they underperformed. They’ll be disappointed they didn’t play to their full potential and that’s something they have a week to rectify coming to Thurles. It was always going to be a tight game. I expect Galway to push on and win the next one on Sunday."

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