All-Ireland hurling final: Expert verdicts on Limerick v Galway

Richie Stakelum, Ryan O’Dwyer and David Collins have their final say

 

Richie Stakelum

Tipperary and former Dublin selector

Richie Stakelum
Richie Stakelum

What match-ups will prove most decisive?

Marking Aaron Gillane is so important for Galway because he gets on a huge amount of goal chances. He’s young though, so will he continue to perform at that level? Cian Lynch in the middle of the field also needs minding but I’ll be watching for the expected match-up of Gearóid McInerney and Kyle Hayes – that’ll be a huge physical battle with a huge bearing on the game.

Galway experience should matter but Limerick came back against Kilkenny and Cork so the All-Ireland final should be no problem, right?

You never really know how people react to the biggest day of all. Obviously this is Limerick’s first time but there is something different about them and that’s got to do with the number of games they’ve played – seven championship matches. And don’t underestimate the fact they responded to quickly to beat Kilkenny after Richie Hogan got the goal. That gives a team a massive psychological boost. And then to beat Cork how they did. I don’t see a flop. They are so cool.

Winners?

I would go with Limerick. Galway looked a little jaded and Joe Canning, while magnificent in the semi-final, was carrying an injury.

Ryan O’Dwyer

Dublin

Ryan O’Dwyer
Ryan O’Dwyer

What match-ups will prove most decisive?

I’d love to see what Galway will do with Gearóid Hegarty. He’s brilliant in the air but will Aidan Harte stay on that side? David Burke on Cian Lynch, both of them want to hurl but will they cancel each other out? Séamus Flanagan on Daithí Burke? I’d have to say Burke after that phenomenal catch in the replay against Clare that no one else could have caught. Will Declan Hannon, who likes to sit, follow Joe Canning, who likes to move out the field? Jesus, there are so many match-ups!

Galway experience should matter but Limerick came back against Kilkenny and Cork so the All-Ireland final should be no problem, right?

I don’t think Galway have come out of third gear this year yet they have been winning. They have not hit the same intensity over a whole match as they did in 2017. I don’t know if they can. Limerick can match them physically and they are well able to score. Mentally, Limerick have looked very strong this year. A lot of adversity has been thrown at them – conceding the goal against Kilkenny, going down six points with nine minutes left against Cork – so an All-Ireland won’t affect them.

Winners?

I’m not saying Limerick will beat Galway but the undoing of them will be off-field distractions. Blank out all that and we get a cracking final. My heart says Limerick as it’s 45 years since they won. My mother is from Limerick so I’ve a long history down there, but my wife is from Galway so I can’t win either way. The head says Galway by a point.

David Collins

Galway

David Collins
David Collins

What match-ups will prove most decisive?

Galway need to keep Aaron Gillane quiet at corner forward. I would put Adrian Tuohey on him, just for being so sticky. Gillane is a real threat when the ball comes in high but he is losing the hurl too often. If gets round Tuohey, Daithí Burke will be waiting for him. That’s going to be key. Shane Dowling and Pat Ryan coming on need fresh Galway legs to mark them. I’d put Aidan Harte on top of Dowling or Pádraig Mannion, but Pádraig is better when he has time to spray the ball as we have seen all year.

Galway experience should matter but Limerick came back against Kilkenny and Cork so the All-Ireland final should be not problem, right?

Galway have been shell-shocking teams, then switching off in the last few minutes of the first and second-half. Limerick will look at that and say ‘If we can hold them for 15, 20 minutes, we are in with a real shout.’ Galway need to keep their finger on the pulse if they get nine, 10 points clear.

Winners?

Galway. Micheál Donoghue needs to find a way to keep them going for that bit longer but if Limerick take their chances Galway will be in trouble.

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