herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Galway's form far too good to ignore

LEINSTER SHC SEMI-FINAL

GALWAY v LAOIS

(Tullamore, Today, 5.0, Live Sky)

THE saga of Laois' summer is quickly developing into the pre-eminent narrative of this hurling summer.

We're not cynical enough to suggest that 'Cheddar's' exit and swift return were some orchestrated ploy to rally a team that hadn't done great things in either the League or their round robin qualifier group but on the face of it, it clearly seemed to have some galvanising properties.

The proviso in all this is that Offaly have long ceased to be anything representing a top level scalp but that won't perturb Laois supporters here today.

Nor will their most recent performances against Galway.

There were just two points between the teams last year in Portlaoise and the seven that separated them at the final whistle at the same stage in 2013 didn't portray an accurate representation of Laois' competitiveness.

In both games, Laois sought to compress and compact and they're certainly not going to fall into the same absent-minded traps as Dublin two weeks back.

Jason Flynn is out, meaning Joe Canning (right) is likely to resume free-taking responsibilities and Niall Healy wont dilute the the goal lusting tendencies of that inside forward line any.

Ordinarily, given Laois' compelling momentum, you'd give them a chance here but Galway have two games played already, the second of which suggested that this is very much an 'on' year for them.

Thus, they only teams likely to stop them in anything close to that awesome form are their fellow All-Ireland contenders.

ODDS: Galway 1/14, Draw 14/1, Laois 15/2

VERDICT: Galway

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