Galway v Tipperary, Sunday, Croke Park, 3.30pm
The first of this year’s All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Finals take place at Croke Park this Sunday. The games between the sides the last two years have been close with Tipperary edging out wins on both occasions. Galway, have had a successful year to date and are in the in form team having won the league title and Leinster title. In fact, Galway hammered Tipperary in the league final, how much can we read into that I’m not quite sure.
Galway played well in their Leinster Final win over Wexford and were never really troubled by Davy Fitzgerald’s charges. Micheal Donoghue had a game plan and it did work. They isolated Conor Cooney and he tore the Wexford defence to shreds. In addition, players like Joe Cooney, Daithi Burke, Padraig Mannion and Joe Canning all played well. Gearoid McInerney was also superb for the Tribesmen, however I certainly think that the Tipperary attack are a lot stronger than the Wexford attack that Galway faced.
Tipperary will come into the game on a high after qualifier wins over Westmeath and Dublin, while they also beat Clare in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in the quarter final, there was some poor play though to and their full back line was very weak at times. The absence of Cathal Barrett is massive in my opinion and they really need him back, however that won’t be anytime soon as Michael Ryan has said that he is longer apart of the panel. Tipperary will call on players like Seamus Callanan, John O’Dwyer, Padraic Maher and Patrick Maher, while Michael Breen and Brendan Maher will add strength and steal to the midfield area.
In terms of winning this game I think Galway will edge it, they would have learned from their previous two games in the championship with the Premier in recent years. If Galway target the full back line I think they will win this, may be put Joe Canning in at full forward or something different, because the Tipperary full back line were very uncomfortable against the speedy Clare forwards.
Galway are priced at 10/11 for this game, while Tipperary are 6/5, the draw is a nice 9/1 and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one on Sunday. However, I think Galway will just about get nick it in end by a point or two.