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5 talking points ahead of Kilkenny and Galway's Allianz Hurling semi-final

From how Galway need a quick start to the Cats’ record under Cody.

Kilkenny and Galway go head to head this Sunday.
Kilkenny and Galway go head to head this Sunday.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Galway need to be quick out of the traps

IF GALWAY ARE to beat Kilkenny on Sunday, they need to start well.

In their previous encounter, they outscored Kilkenny by 1-8 to 0-5 in the second half. However, trailing 1-6 to 0-2 after ten minutes and 2-11 to 0-8 at the break made it virtually impossible for the Tribesmen to win the game.

Keeping things tight at the start imperative on Sunday, especially depriving Kilkenny of the early goals they thrive on to ignite their game.

Kilkenny’s league record under Cody

There are many extraordinary aspects to Brian Cody’s time in charge of Kilkenny and so it’s easy to get caught up in his championship exploits but their league record also warrants mention.

Since Cody took charge in 1999, Kilkenny have won seven league titles and lost two other deciders. The fact they have a chance to reach a 10th league final in 15 years is an incredibly impressive achievement, especially for a team that uses to league to blood new players and tinker win tactics.

No show like a Joe show

Portumna’s exploits caught the eye again this spring, winning their fourth All-Ireland club title and, once again, Joe Canning was to the fore in a withdrawn role around midfield.

2014 is a big year for him as captain of Galway. After being brushed aside by Clare in the All-Ireland quarter-final last year, the Tribesmen will hope for at least a spot in the final four when championship season comes around again so now is the perfect time for him to be available and in form.

League form of Kilkenny catching fire

Brian Cody spoke in February about the sense of inevitability that surrounded Kilkenny’s limp exit from the championship last year. He’s right of course, they failed to hit top gear — particularly in the goal-scoring department — and even Michael Fennelly conceded this week that they were stale.

We may still be in the shadow-boxing stages of the season but the signs are that Kilkenny are returning to the blistering form of old in putting five goals past Tipperary, destroying Waterford and seeing off Wexford in style. They have another chance to maintain those standards on Sunday.

Watch out for Brehony

Tony Kelly was one of the leading minor lights in the country in 2011 but his All-Ireland dreams were denied when Galway beat Clare in a superb semi-final tie after extra-time.

Key for Galway that day — and that year — was Padraig Brehony.

The Tynagh Abbey-Duniry club man is showing he can live up to those high-standards with his league performances and could now be set to nail down a  permanent starting place. How he plays this Sunday could well dictate how much we see of him over the course of the summer.

Gerry Adams, Brendan Cummins and Diarmuid O’Sullivan pay tribute as Tony Browne retires

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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