Sunday 19 January 2020

Fresher Cats to put pressure on Tribesmen

Leinster SHC: Kilkenny v Galway (Nowlan Park, tomorrow, 2.0, RTÉ)

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid
Kilkenny’s TJ Reid

This is where it becomes interesting.

A Kilkenny win here and Galway are left with the uninviting scenario of having to beat Dublin in Parnell Park next Saturday or slump out of this year's All-Ireland SFC before the provincial titles are handed out.

On the, albeit limited, evidence of their draw with Wexford in Salthill, there are some creaking parts to Galway just now.

The defensive pillars of this Galway team - Burke, Mannion and McInerney - have for the first time since establishing themselves as the best in the country in their positions, displayed some signs of accumulated fatigue. And whatever about the loss of Canning, there seemed to be a lack of direction about the rest of the Galway attack that day in Salthill, as though they were playing more as individuals rather than a cohesive unit.

Again, this is all based on one performance and, given their historical tendencies, it would be no shock to anyone if Galway were to win in Nowlan Park tomorrow. But there is a different feeling about Kilkenny now.

Granted, their reliance on TJ Reid for over half of their scores so far this summer is bound to catch up on them eventually.

But just as some of Brian Cody's injured parties returned to availability, so too did the legendary manager figure out a couple of things about the best placement of those he had available to him.

There's a freshness about Kilkenny, admittedly an intangible quality, but one that Galway don't seem to have now. We may see the manifestation of that tomorrow.

ODDS: Kilkenny 8/13, Draw 8/1, Galway 7/4

VERDICT: Kilkenny

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