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Thursday 19 October 2017

So Offaly far off Galway's standard

Leinster SHC semi-final: Galway v Offaly (Portlaoise, Tomorrow, 2.0)

Offaly’s Shane Dooley. Photo: Sportsfile
Offaly’s Shane Dooley. Photo: Sportsfile

Speaking on 'Morning Ireland' yesterday, proud Offaly man that he is, Michael Duignan didn't attempt to dress up tomorrow's Leinster semi-final as something that it isn't.

"The best Offaly can hope for is a performance," he said.

Even that may not be enough to avoid a mauling.

Offaly's first mission? A competitive start to militate against the type of 26-point massacre that happened in Tullamore last February.

Then, even against the strong breeze, Galway exploded from the blocks, leading by 1-2 to 0-0 after seven minutes and by 4-9 to 1-8 at half-time.

Curiously, this contrasted with last year's corresponding semi-final when Offaly opened with a 1-2 salvo inside the first three minutes. Not that the outcome was ever in real doubt: Galway trailed by a point at the break but, with the wind to their backs, eased their way to a ten-point victory.

That was then; this is now. Galway have evolved and matured to a point where they are All-Ireland favourites, seemingly the pretender best positioned to capitalise on the recent travails of Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Cruise

Their opening cruise past 14-man Dublin was less compelling than their league final rout of Tipp; but you always got the sense of a team playing within itself.

Whereas Offaly are utterly reliant on Shane Dooley (reflected in his latest 3-8 haul to save the day against Westmeath), Galway have long since moved beyond a time when it was all about Joe Canning.

All six of their forwards had scored from play inside the opening 23 minutes against Dublin. With their aerial prowess, bulldozing strength and blur of movement creating space in the opposing half, they can hurt you from all angles. Offaly be warned.

ODDS: Galway 1/100 Draw 33/1 Offaly 14/1

VERDICT: Galway

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