All Ireland Hurling Final: Galway are no longer just dependant on form of Joe Canning, says David Collins
WHERE once, the well-being of the Galway hurling team could be gauged in direct proportion to the form of Joe Canning, he's not quite their beacon of hope this season.
Indeed, you could make a convincing case for Jason Flynn and Cathal Mannion in the pre All-Ireland final All Stars selection ahead of Canning.
And that, it seems, is one of the most powerful strengths of this latest Galway team to attempt to claim Liam MacCarthy.
"I think the set-up is better what they are coming into; they are not coming in there and given the jersey and guaranteed the jersey," says David Collins, who has seen his fair share of Galway 'wunderkinds' come, explode and disappear in his inter-county career.
Now, Galway have an attacking sextet featuring three under-21s, the aforementioned duo plus Conor Whelan.
"Alright, Joe Canning was 'The Joe Show', but we have now have seven or eight forwards that can go in and perform to the best," Collins points out.
"You take the Cork example, he had eight wides I think it was and we still won the game by 13 points. That's massive from them players alright.
"Those guys are there you can count on. It's a different set-up but more is expected.
"As older players, myself and Andy Smith and those boys are actually demanding we get more off these players and that's what we needed.
"That wasn't there years ago."
The more reliable cavalry has, Collins, concludes eased the pressure on Canning in a discernible way.
"I think it's so much weight off his shoulders. The pressure was on, he's only a young lad," says Collins.
"It's like he's been there 20 years so at least he can hurl away now to his own."
ALL-IRELAND SFC SEMI-FINAL REPLAY (extra-time if necessary)
Croke Park: Dublin v Mayo, 5.0, E Kinsella (Laois), RTé, SKY
ALL-IRELAND MHC 'B' FINAL (extra-time if necessary)
Gaelic Grounds: Kerry v Roscommon, 2.0, S Cleere (Kilkenny)
LADIES ALL-IRELAND SFC SEMI-FINAL
Parnell Park: Armagh v Dublin, 2.0, G Carmody (Mayo)
LADIES ALL-IRELAND IFC SEMI-FINAL (extra time if necessary)
Parnell Park: Kildare v Offaly, 12.15, B Rice (Down)
ALL-IRELAND MHC FINAL
Croke Park: Galway v Tipperary, 1.15, P O'Dwyer (Carlow), TG4
ALL-IRELAND SHC FINAL
Croke Park: Kilkenny v Galway, 3.30, J Owens (Wexford), RTé, SKY