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Finn confident Galway have firepower to end final hoodoo

GALWAY manager Noel Finn believes they have fixed the weakness that contributed heavily to them losing two All-Ireland senior finals in the past three years.

The Tribeswomen managed only three points from play in last year's narrow two-point defeat (1-10 to 1-12) by Wexford and struggled similarly in the 2008 decider. But Finn says that his side have addressed that problem and he hopes it will be the key to breaking their All-Ireland hoodoo in Sunday's big rematch at Croke Park.

"I am happy that we are scoring much more freely from play all around the pitch and we've been getting scores this year when we need them," he said. "We've rarely come out of a match this year without at least five of our forwards scoring from play."

Galway had been overly dependent previously on the excellent free-taking of Aislinn Connolly, who scored 1-6, all from placed balls, in last year's decider.

But they've produced far more scoring options this year and demonstrated that against the reigning champions in the opening game of the group stages this summer.

"We went down to Enniscorthy and put up a big score (2-14) and had seven scorers that day," Finn said. "On top of that, we only conceded nine points and just two of Wexford's scores came from play, which was just as satisfying.

"Of course, you can't judge anything from group games. Sunday is winner-takes-all and we know this will be another almighty tussle. I have felt all year that the girls are very focused and happy and we seem to be hitting form at the right time."

The only team that beat Galway in their seven group games was Cork, and they survived a serious onslaught from Kilkenny in their semi-final before winning 2-13 to 2-7.

His side are looking to break an unenviable final record since their only title victory in 1996. Despite players of the calibre of Ann-Marie Hayes, Therese Maher, Veronica Curtin, Niamh and Orla Kilkenny and Connolly, Galway have lost four finals since -- two in a row in 1997 and '98 as well as two in the last three years.

Both sides have a clean bill of health as Wexford's multiple All Star full-back Catherine O'Loughlin has returned to full training.

Irish Independent