Galway ready for CatsJuly 3, 2012 - 7:00am
GALWAY manager Anthony Cunningham firmly believes there is a big performance in the Tribesmen when they face reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in the Leinster senior hurling final at Croke Park on Sunday (4pm).
Cunningham is in buoyant mood this week and says his charges are looking forward to the challenge of pitting their skills and wits against arguably the greatest hurling team of the modern era.
“We have prepared very well,” says Cunningham. “We are very happy with our progress and we are very happy with the way we have trained. So, the challenge now – and what we want to do – is take our game to Croke Park and the Leinster final next Sunday.”
Indeed, going into this provincial decider, the Galway management has no injuries worries of note, with David Collins, Cyril Donnellan (both ankle) and Joe Canning (shoulder) all coming through Sunday’s training session.
It is understood there was concern over Canning’s fitness, once again, after he felt some discomfort in his shoulder in a recent challenge game against Waterford but Cunningham is unduly perturbed about his ace marksman.
“They all trained yesterday (Sunday), so we have no injuries, aside from a few knocks. So, we’re fine. We will have everyone to choose from,” declares the Galway boss.
With the management not expected to announce their starting line-up until Friday evening, it remains to be seen if there will be many changes in personnel from the sides that defeated Westmeath (5-19 to 4-12) and Offaly (5-23 to 3-15) in the Leinster quarter-final and semi-final respectively, particularly in defence which, to date, has coughed up no less than seven goals in two championship outings.
Cunningham agrees Galway will need to tighten up considerably against the Cats. “There is room for improvement in every match you play and it goes without saying that you have to improve day to day and week to week. We would be happy that we have worked hard on that and that we are well prepared. So, it is just down to getting a performance that we know is in the players on the day.”
That has to be Galway’s primary objective – first and foremost – when they take the field against the in-form National League and All-Ireland champions. It’s an important step in the development of Cunningham’s young side. “It is, yeah, and we must give them patience and time,” he says.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.