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Sunday 4 December 2016

Galway star Johnny Coen: 'Margins between the teams on Sunday will be very small'

Johnny coen
Johnny coen

JOHNNY COEN describes it as "heartbreak" - and you can see why. Galway leading by six points and, some 20 minutes later, they have lost by nine.

Then, rubbing salt into open wounds, Tipperary reach the All-Ireland final and come within a Hawk-Eye whisker of winning it. On Sunday in Croker, Galway have a chance of atonement.

"The heartbreak really of last year," recalls Coen, "playing in Thurles and you're out of the championship by the start of July. It's a serious amount of time to be looking on. You really want to be in the semi-final/final."

The corner-back insists that last year's qualifier "hasn't really been talked about" in the build-up to Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final rematch.

"It's more been the lads' attitude over the last two or three years. You'd really want to be taking a serious look at yourself and saying 'Are you really trying your best or are you just showing up every now and then?'

BACKED

"Thankfully, this year, lads have trained hard, backed each other up to the last and we'll see how it goes on Sunday."

"The margin between all of the teams is very, very small. If you look back at the time previous to that, Clare beat us (in 2013) and then they went on to win the All-Ireland. Kilkenny beat us (in the 2012 final) and win the All-Ireland."

Coen had made his SHC debut the summer before, under John McIntyre, but 2012 was his real coming-of-age.

"It was really a dream year for a lot of us," the 24-year-old recounts. "One of my first years on the panel and you'd be thinking you'd be there or thereabouts every single year. It just shows the level of competition that's out there to get to where you want to be."

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