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Galway convince the doubters, their incredible scoring-rate and the first big loss of Davy Fitz's reign

We run through 5 major talking points after Galway picked up the second Leinster SHC title in their history.
Jul 2nd 2017, 7:35 PM 11,176 16

1. Galway convince the doubters

THE GALWAY HURLERS had become known for their Jekyll and Hyde performances over the years but it appears Michael Donoghue has stamped that out.

Joe Canning with the Bob O'Keeffe Cup after the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Tribesmen have now put a string of four stunning performances together and they only appear to be getting better as we approach the business end of the season.

Previous iterations of this Galway side had a tendency to blow hot and cold in a frustrating manner but this team is settled and stick to the game plan at all times.

A Division 1 league title and Leinster crown have been annexed so far this season and taking the direct route to the All-Ireland semi-final is even more important given the heavyweights Wexford could now face in the quarter-final stage.

Thomas Monaghan and Sean Loftus Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

2. Galway’s scoring rate

Galway went on two scoring runs in the second-half that highlighted their potency in attack. When Wexford squandered the chance to get back on level, the Tribesmen hit an unanswered seven scores between the 42nd and 50th minute.

Another scoring blitz arrived shortly after Diarmuid O’Keeffe’s goal brought Wexford to within four. Between the 56th and 61st minute, they went on another rampage and scored 0-5 without reply.

When they sense danger, they’ve a remarkable ability to put the foot on the gas and race out of sight. While Wexford’s sweeper Shaun Murphy prevented any real goal-scoring chances, but the Tribesmen were happy to pick off their scores from the wings.

The ball-winning ability of the Galway forwards is one of their big assets. When the get the ball in their claw, their first thought is to turn and take on their man. It’s a potent mix.

Joe Canning’s placed balls were flawless but failed to score from play  He didn’t need to when his team-mates were in such good form around him.

A view of the action Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

3. Wexford missed chances

As good as Galway were today, it’s important to remember that Conor McDonald could have brought Wexford level in the 40th minute with a penalty. Colm Callanan did well to bat away the tame strike and it blatantly affected Wexford’s self-belief from that point.

Chin slotted over the resultant 65, but it was cancelled out straight away by Canning at the far end. Galway’s three-point lead was maintained.

Right after half-time, Hawk-Eye ruled out a Conor McDonald free that initially looked over. That was four points Wexford left behind them in the five minutes after half-time and Galway quickly pulled away. That’s not to say Wexford would have won, but it’s the little things like these that affect the momentum of a game.

Joe Canning and Jennifer Malone after the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

4. 5-week gap for Galway

Galway now have five weeks to wait until they enter the All-Ireland series, and they’ll have a good chance to study their potential opponents over the coming weeks.

The cost of the lengthy gap is the potential loss of momentum gleaned from their wins over Dublin, Offaly and Wexford. On the plus side Galway will expect to have Cathal Mannion back firing on all cylinders. The Ahascragh-Fohenagh forward failed a fitness test on Friday and his return will add another piece to Galway’s attacking riches.

The Galway players head back to their clubs for a round of championship next weekend. Donoghue will be hoping to navigate the month break similar to the one they endured between the league and championship.

Davy Fitzgerald Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

5. First big defeat of Davy Fitz’s tenure

It’s a remarkable sign of Wexford’s progress under Davy Fitzgerald that today was only their second competitive defeat in 2017.

The 11-point league quarter-final loss to Tipperary and today’s nine-point beating by Galway shows that Wexford need to be in front heading down the stretch or they’ll struggle to turn things around.

While Wexford were big underdogs heading into this game, but players will be hurting regardless.

A massive crowd made the journey to Croke Park today to support a Wexford side riding the crest of a wave after their win over Kilkenny. A major test of the group’s character and mentality will be how they bounce back for their All-Ireland quarter-final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

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Kevin O'Brien


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