WHEN it comes down to it, of the two teams, Galway’s ceiling is higher. If both sides play to their potential, or anywhere close to it, I think Galway win. They have the better players, especially up front. Add in their experience and desire, after losing two previous finals, to ensure that a third defeat in four doesn’t become their legacy and I expect them to be very hard to beat.
There’s obviously a concern as to what the two replays have taken out of them. Have they the energy to match the raw enthusiasm and effort their opponents will bring? If Limerick are still in the match with 15 minutes left and the bench is unleashed, will Galway have the legs to withstand it?
I think that some of that conjecture has to be getting under the skin of the Galway players. They’ve answered all the questions asked of them so far. In their minds, the hard part was getting to the final. Two weeks is ample time to recover and get the energy levels back up. I also know that if I were a Galway player, after all they’ve been through together, I’d be hell-bent on making sure the job is finished.
Limerick’s time will come. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that today is the day this team comes of age and they play with a passion and abandon that Galway can’t withstand. Kiely and Kinnerk will have left no stone unturned and this is the best-prepared and organised Limerick team that has ever left the county, which gives them every chance.
Nonetheless, I tipped Galway to retain their title at the start of the year and I’m not prepared to desert them now. I think the Burkes, Canning and Glynn will get them over the line. Galway to win.