Monday 20 November 2017

Tribesmen experience deja vu - but with more positives than negatives

Dublin’s Michael Carton in action against Cyril Donnellan of Galway during Sunday’s Leinster hurling quarter-final
Dublin’s Michael Carton in action against Cyril Donnellan of Galway during Sunday’s Leinster hurling quarter-final

Donny Mahoney

Twenty-four hours before Galway played Dublin, Brian Hogan joined the show to preview the game. Ger had an intriguing hypothetical for Hogan that still left me, in textspeak, smh.

To paraphrase: 'What if it was Galway who had seen out that match in Thurles last July, and not Tipp? If they'd had, surely they would have kicked on and seen the business end of the championship?'

It was a tantalising sentiment. But the damning truth is Galway are Galway exactly because they always lose those sort of games. What other 'elite' hurling county could be up nine points with 19 minutes left and manage to lose by nine points?

Sunday against the Dubs felt like the latest in a long lineage of infuriating Galway defeats. They started brightly, as they do. Cyril Donnellan played like he'd been possessed by Richie Power. And just when Joe Cooney's goal started to give Galway supporters hope, Dublin stormed back.

Galway, to my eye anyway, always seemed like the classier side but after they bottled chance after chance, it was, to quote Yogi Berra, like deja vu all over again.

But somehow Galway didn't lose on Sunday. David Treacy missed a free. Aidan Harte scored a wonderful point. The two will dance again in Tullamore (whatever about the Dubs playing Leinster games at Croker, why the Galway hurlers can't play in Leinster at Pearse Stadium is baffling).

With the dust settled, the positives for Galway are manifold. Iarla Tannian seemed restored to 2012 beast-mode Iarla Tannian, at least until Ryan O'Dwyer's reckless shoulder. People will always obsess with Joe Canning's form but there's threat in Galway's new forward lines. Cathal Mannion has something about him.

Early summer hurling is weird. Who'd have expected the Clare team that lost by eight to Cork in June 2013 to explode so brightly in September? What happened to Tipp between that loss to Limerick in Munster last year and August?

Every team needs time. Galway have bought themselves another week in Leinster.

Irish Independent

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