Helebert warns that lessons have to be heededAugust 31, 2012 - 7:00am
GALWAY coach Tom Helebert believes there are lessons that can be heeded from the U-21s defeat to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final – lessons that could benefit the Tribesmen when they face the Cats in the All-Ireland senior decider at Croke Park on Sunday week.
All but blown away by the pace and power of Kilkenny in the U-21 semi-final at Semple Stadium on Saturday – a display decorated by four goals from the Cats – the Tribesmen were left in no doubt what their illustrious opponents think of Galway’s resurgence this year.
However, lessons can be heeded. “Absolutely,” says Helebert. “The thing about it is, in some respects, this could be a previewing of how Kilkenny might set up against us in the All-Ireland final, in terms of setting up a blanket defence and blocking out the space in front of goal. So, we will have to be very creative in terms of creating the goal chances that will be needed to win an All-Ireland senior final.”
By the same token, the Galway mentor insists the U-21s defeat will have no bearing on what the Tribesmen aim to achieve when the two counties meet in the forthcoming senior decider and he dismisses any notions that this disjointed Galway display – which saw 17 senior panellists taste action on the evening – sets the tone for the biggest date on the hurling calendar.
“No, not really,” says Helebert. “These games were completely separate. This was a game that gave them (the players) a chance to win an U-21 title, which we were trying to do. For us, this was a case of it being a separate game and we needed to approach it like that.
“Next Sunday week, this will not be on the agenda in terms of our thoughts or otherwise. In fairness to the lads, they went at it to try and win the game. I suppose, it is disappointing. It would have been nice to get a victory but it was a good fightback in the second half. It was always going to be an uphill struggle after conceding four goals.”
By the 23rd minute, Kilkenny had bagged three of those goals to establish a 3-9 to 0-11 interval lead with the fourth, via the penalty spot, arriving three minutes into the second period. The Tribesmen were fighting fires.
One of the problems for Galway, though, was that they didn’t seem to have any specialist corner backs to call upon; that they were probably hamstrung in this regard by having to give game-time to their 17 senior players.
“Yeah, but look it, you are trying to pick your six best defenders and apply them accordingly. And that is the way we picked the team,” says Helebert. “You are then looking for performances once you put lads out there and, you know, a couple of guys today struggled with their performance, which would be a bit of a disappointment for us. But, that’s the way it happens.
“You have to find your way in and out of the game. Lads will have different difficulties on different days and today was one of those days when some of our established players, perhaps, didn’t have the games you would have liked them to have. We won’t make any excuses.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.