Thursday 19 April 2018

Young men from the west show they can go all the way in minor final

Man-of-the-match Jack Coyne
Man-of-the-match Jack Coyne

John Mullane

What super advertisements for minor hurling those two All-Ireland semi-finals were yesterday.

I got in early for the Galway-Kilkenny replay and similar to the first game, Kilkenny failed to close the deal and paid the ultimate price.

They were four points up with five minutes to go but didn't shut up shop and Galway reeled them in to kickstart a memorable day for the county.

I was very impressed by Galway, who had big performances from Jack Fitzpatrick at full-back and man-of-the-match Jack Coyne.

There was a strong suspicion of square ball surrounding Cian Salmon's decisive goal but Galway will take the break and move forward to a final meeting with Tipperary on September 6.

When they moved away from the sweeper system and opened up, they looked much better and it's a lesson they should heed ahead of the final.

Richie Leahy was unlucky to finish on the losing side because on both days, he was excellent for Kilkenny. Darragh Joyce was really good too, a block of a young man.

Based on yesterday's evidence, Galway will start the final as favourites but Tipp have some nice forwards.

Their inside line of Lyndon Fairbrother, Tommy Nolan and David Gleeson will take some watching.

But it's Galway for me next month. The more I see of this team, the more I like them.

Dublin impressed me in defeat. Ciaran Dowling, Matthew Oliver and Conor Ryan at corner-back hurled big games but Tipp used their bench well and deserved the win.

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