Home GAA Eoin Larkin Column: Now Or Never For Galway In All-Ireland Final

Eoin Larkin Column: Now Or Never For Galway In All-Ireland Final

Galway have a lot to work on going into the final.

They won’t be happy with some of their shooting and some of their decision-making on Sunday. Joe Canning missed a few frees early on. However, Micheal Donoghue will be delighted with the win and that he has things to work on over the next four weeks going into the All-Ireland final.

Going into the second half, Canning had been anonymous, but really came to life in the last 20 minutes. Galway were in the game, but needed someone to step up. You have to take your hat off to him, after 50 minutes he hadn’t scored from play and was after a few wides, missing relatively easy frees by his standards. But he really took a grip of the game and pushed Galway over the line.

But the Tribesmen have a host of quality forwards in their side. In the first half, Conor Whelan and Conor Cooney were excellent. The latter went right out of the game in the second half and Cathal Mannion was taken off. Whelan had a remarkable game overall.

Dublin , Ireland - 6 August 2017; James Barry of Tipperary in action against Conor Cooney of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. (Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

That’s what you want. Joe was quiet in the first half, but the other forwards stood up to do the scoring. When they were shut down after the break it was over to Canning to do the rest.

If they all go well at the same time, then Cork or Waterford’s backline will be in for a torrid time.

This is a massive opportunity for the Tribesmen to finally reach the promised land. There is no Kilkenny or Tipperary in their way anymore. In years gone by, they’d beat Kilkenny or Tipperary, and then have to beat the other one, and that was always going to be tough.

It’s either Cork or Waterford now.

Really, if they don’t back it up in the All-Ireland final, I think their chance is gone. They’re after promising so much over the years, but the pressure was on them yesterday and they delivered. They need to deliver one more time now, and get that monkey off their back.

If they do that, it should really give them the confidence to push on, and they’ll be a serious threat for a few years to come because they’re still young.

Tipp pipped

Tipp were unlucky in what was a tight match.

I feel Tipperary weren’t at their best all year. After the league final, everyone expected them to deliver a backlash against Cork. But, comparing it to 2016, some of Tipperary’s play was baffling. They just weren’t the same team overall.

Referee

It’s no secret that myself and Barry Kelly don’t get on. I always feel that when he is refereeing a game, it’s about Barry Kelly and not the two teams.

He wants to be the centre of attention. I know the referee is the boss, but he didn’t put a stamp on it. He’s the man in charge, and there’s nobody going to take over from that. The focus was on him yesterday, and it always will be on him when he’s refereeing.

Galway for Liam?

I still think Cork are the frontrunners for the All-Ireland. After they beat Tipperary, I said the Rebels would win Liam MacCarthy, and I’m sticking with that. Galway have still have to prove that they can get over the line. They’ve had good positions in All-Ireland finals before, and haven’t won them.

Everyone is going to be questioning Galway until they get over the line and win an All-Ireland final. Everyone will forget about Sunday if they lose the final.

For Galway to have had a good year, they’ll need to win it, and that’s the ultimate challenge for them.

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Make sure to check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, where we question if the Super 8s is already doomed, hear from Mickey Harte and Jim Gavin after their quarter-final victories, and discuss Galway’s thrilling win over Tipperary.

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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