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David Burke raises the Allianz Hurling League trophy.
David Burke raises the Allianz Hurling League trophy.

Allianz League talking points


By Cian O'Connell

Galway left the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday evening armed with hope and silverware.

A first Allianz Hurling League title since 2010 ensure Galway will enter the Leinster Championship loaded with confidence.

Here are some of the main talking points to emerge from the decider.

Statement made, silverware taken

Since winning the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship in 2012 Galway have craved trophies.

The Bord Na Mona Walsh Cup triumph in 2015 was Galway's only piece of silverware so Sunday's success offers encouragement.

During the past two Championships Galway have participated in a couple of epic encounters with Tipperary.

A keen rivalry is being redeveloped between the two counties so Galway were primed for this battle.

How Micheal Donoghue refocused his team following their loss to Wexford is worthy of the utmost respect.

That match finished in disappointing fashion for Galway, who were aware that promotion was unlikely to be secured.

Wexford took care of their business admirably in Division 1B, but Galway also concluded the group stages in a calm and unfussy manner.

Throughout this time Donoghue used his panel with the returning Jonathan Glynn and Cyril Donnellan becoming the 34th and 35th players to sample action during Galway's eight matches in the competition.

Consistency remains the word most commonly used by those involved with the Galway camp.

Raising a League title mightn't be the ultimate aim for 2017, but it is a good sign, nonetheless, with the fact that Galway hurled smartly against the All Ireland champions adding another layer of satisfaction.

Joe Canning has enjoyed a productive stint for Galway since returning from a serious hamstring injury.
Joe Canning has enjoyed a productive stint for Galway since returning from a serious hamstring injury.

Galway's blend of skill and strength

Jason Flynn's pace and precision, Conor Whelan's workrate, Joe Canning's craft, and Joseph Cooney's understated excellence was a nice cocktail in attack.

David Burke and Johnny Coen continue to forge a midfield partnership of considerable substance.

At the back Daithi Burke, Gearoid McInerney, and Aidan Harte had the defensive doors bolted firmly.

What ran through the Galway team, though, was their willingness to engage in physical contact.

It wasn't all about brute force either because Galway can be nifty and nimble too. Flynn's two goals showed what he can do, while Conor Whelan was enterprising throughout.

Last August Canning suffered a severe hamstring injury, but he has returned to action in the maroon jersey with a steely determination.

Canning netted a penalty against Wexford in his comeback match, and in his five and a half matches since the Portumna talisman has contributed handsomely.

A total of 3-47 is a seriously healthy return, but Canning has also acted as a splendid creative force too. That particular role shouldn't be underestimated.

Tipperary surprisingly tame

A week ago Tipperary dealt with a pumped up Wexford by producing a couple of devastating bursts.

When Galway led by 0-11 to 0-5 at the break another Tipperary cameo seemed imminent.

Michael Ryan's team appeared to be acquiring a small bit of hope at the start of the second half, but they were floored by Jason Flynn's first goal.

Galway weren't going to allow the Premier County to seize the initiative. For the defending All Ireland champions Tipperary's display was bitterly disappointing.

Such was Galway's utter dominance only four Tipp players scored from play. Michael Ryan's post match assessment was straight and honest.

“It was the worst performance we’ve had in the length of time I’ve been looking after these boys, very disappointing in a national final," Ryan reflected.

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan.
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan.

A month from now Tipperary face Cork in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship. It will be an interesting few weeks for the blue and gold with Ryan mentioning that Galway 'showed all the right attributes - hunger, power, passion, precision, they had all those things in abundance.'

Those qualities were what Tipperary brought to the fray during the 2016 Championship, especially in the All Ireland series at Croke Park.

Tipperary have recovered from setbacks before, 2010 offering a prime example, but similar resilience must be demonstrated in the coming weeks and months.

Division 1B

For the third year on the spin the Allianz Hurling League winners have thundered through from Division 1B.

Waterford in 2015, Clare in 2016, Galway in 2017, but significantly the Tribesmen didn't secure promotion to Division 1A for next year.

That was seen as a blow in the west, but how Galway responded to their loss to Wexford was notable.

Waterford invested hugely in youth in 2015 which has been rewarded with two stirring Championship journeys.

Galway's panel might be a bit more experienced overall, but the game time afforded to Thomas Monaghan and Sean Loftus has been useful.

Paul Killeen and Gearoid McInerney have been involved with Galway for a few campaigns, but they are now becoming prominent figures.

Delivering in the Leinster Championship is next on the agenda for Galway with the May 28 tussle with Dublin promising to be a revealing fixture.

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