Saturday 18 November 2017

Past meetings not relevant to Kilkenny clash, insists Regan

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

FOR Tony Og Regan, it's a distant memory.

He wasn't to know that when he was part of the Galway team that beat Kilkenny in the 2005 All-Ireland semi-final, he would be part of a very exclusive club. There are pockets of men in Wexford, Tipperary and Cork who have played Brian Cody's Kilkenny and lived to tell the tale.

Only Regan, David Collins and Damien Hayes are still involved with the Tribesmen, but he insists the four championship defeats since that last-four clash will have more influence on Sunday's Leinster final.

"If you're relying on confidence from seven years ago, I think you're in a losing battle straight away," said the 28-year-old.

"We're just looking forward to the challenge of 2012 and next Sunday. The Leinster final is what our aim is.

"It's an amazing statistic all right that it's only Wexford who have beaten them (in Leinster) in the last 10 or 11 years or longer.

"It's the same with the All-Ireland series as well. They've been very dominant and we're not the only team that are trying to catch up with them.

"It's easier said than done. It takes a lot of hard work."

Galway's obvious rebuilding process doesn't mean they haven't set targets.

Regan has no problem in stating that an All-Ireland semi-final appearance would be regarded as progress for Anthony Cunningham's young side.

"I suppose our number one thing is to win next Sunday and you're straight into it (semi-finals). If you lose you have a quarter-final to win.

"But it's definitely something we would have targeted at the start of the year, to try to get to a semi-final -- because seven years is far too long for Galway to be out of it."

Kilkenny dished out a 3-26 to 0-10 hammering when the sides met in the league on their way to another title, and Regan knows the extent of the task facing his side.

"I suppose you're just looking at their form for this year. Judging by the league final and their performance against Dublin they seem in rude health again," he said.

"There's nothing that anyone didn't see from Kilkenny in the last few years that they've done in the last two matches. We're just going to have to play really well to be in with a chance."

They will certainly have to defend a lot better than they have been.

responsibility

Galway scored impressively in their two championship outings to date but they have conceded heavily too.

David and Niall Burke have assumed some of Joe Canning's scoring responsibility, but while the have scored 10-42 in those games, a tally of 7-27 conceded against Westmeath and Offaly suggests Galway are vulnerable.

"I think it was a basic lack of concentration," Regan countered. "The game (against Westmeath) was probably finished as a contest and lads just switched off.

"At inter-county level you just can't afford to do that against any opposition, they'll punish you and that's what happened.

"Kilkenny have been able to get goals against every team, it probably will be near impossible to shut them out from getting goals.

"But I suppose what we score up front and how we respond to those setbacks as well will have a bearing next Sunday."

Irish Independent

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