Home GAA Eoin Larkin Column: How Galway’s Work Rate Forced Waterford Onto Back Foot

Eoin Larkin Column: How Galway’s Work Rate Forced Waterford Onto Back Foot

I didn’t give Galway much of a chance at the start of the year after a lot of people had tipped them following their League triumph.

I still couldn’t see why they were going to win the All-Ireland. But they showed up yesterday, and were the best team in the Championship throughout the summer.

The Tribesmen always seemed to be in the driving seat throughout the game. The experiences of 2012 and 2015 certainly stood to them.

They just weren’t going to accept defeat. It was great that Joe Canning stepped up today, despite being somewhat quiet in the second half. Overall I think Galway showed real hunger and desire that’s needed to win an All-Ireland.

They were deserving winners. You couldn’t really say anything else.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 3/9/2017 Galway vs Waterford Galway's David Burke lifts The Liam McCarthy Cup Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Playing Johnny Glynn was the big call. I said before the match. Overall, it probably worked out for Mícheal Donoghue. In the first couple of minutes, Glynn won a vital ball, and threw it out to Joe Canning, who was able to stick it over the bar.

He doesn’t have the scoring ability that Niall Burke has, but he went in and did the job. Then when Burke came on for him, Niall Burke was able to slot one or two points over, along with Jason Flynn.

It was a real team effort from Galway. David Burke was the standout performer, he hit four points from play. He really took the game to Waterford, in an outstanding display. He went back and caught a lot of ball in the halfback line. If you’re getting four points from play from your midfielder, you’re going to be very happy.

 

Waterford didn’t really play to the game plan that they played all year. Tadhg de Búrca was often moving backward, hitting it over his shoulder – everything went in high.

Once Maurice Shanahan came in, they started lumping high ball in on top of him. There weren’t enough bodies in there to help him. That was ultimately what cost them.

They had a terrible start. They probably thought the writing was on the wall early, but clawed their way back into the game, probably getting a bit of luck with the second goal. They were right there. The game was there for them. But they could never stamp their authority on the game.

Full credit to Galway. They just did their own hurling, rather than worrying about Waterford’s game plan.

They had the forwards who worked savagely hard. When you have a sweeper like Tadhg de Búrca going back, and he’s forced into moving backwards and hitting it over his shoulder, you know you’re doing your job.

I thought they worked seriously hard. That’s all you can ask for from a team. Their forwards work so hard that they took the pressure off their backs.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 3/09/2017 Galway vs Waterford Galway’s Conor Cooney with Jamie Barron of Waterford Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Waterford were right in there. The game was there for them. But they could never stamp their authority on the game.

You just expected, if they were going to win, they needed a good 15-minute spell after halftime, and they just didn’t get it.

The energy that has served them so well all year over the course of the championship with Kevin Moran and Jamie Barron, it just didn’t seem to be at the level that they wanted, consistently throughout the game.

They just weren’t able to get a grip on the game. Galway tagged on a couple of scores and were able to hold out.

 

About Eoin Larkin

Eoin Larkin
Eoin Larkin is a former inter-county hurler for Kilkenny. Playing with the Cats for twelve seasons the James Stephens clubman won ten Leinster titles, eight All-Ireland Hurling Championships and two All Star awards.

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