Preview: Galway know they
If it were a real Western it’d take place at high noon tomorrow, but 3.30 pm is a reasonable replacement. Galway and Limerick tick a lot of boxes: established champions versus raw challengers is the top line in most evaluations, and if lazy cliche tells us anything it’s that you need to lose an All-ireland to learn how to win one. Counting replays some of the Galway players enter their fifth decider tomorrow; only Seamus Hickey and Nickie Quaid on the Limerick side have experience of a September Sunday in Croke Park. Does it count for anything? Take a look at Galway’s sizzling start to last year’s All-ireland final, when they had four scores on the board in four minutes. Bear in mind Dave Moriarty’s words elsewhere in this paper about the roar that greeted Limerick in 2007, and how that conveyed to the men in green that they were in the big show. Nothing prepares you for eighty thousand voices.
Galway are also strong where Limerick are strong. In their semi-final Limerick came from six points down with quality off the bench and physical power when Cork flagged. Galway’s mountainous fifteen have set the standard for size and strength, however, and have survived two close calls against Clare.
What’s been lost in the gunsmoke surrounding the Galway-clare games is Galway’s ability to carve out the chances to win those game late on - witness Johnny Coen’s injury-time opportunity in Croke Park.
Expect a moment tomorrow in the second half when a spontaneous rumble begins somewhere in the ground not a partisan sound but an acknowledgement that the