McInerney knows Galway hurlers have a target on their backs
By John Harrington
Gearoid McInerney is well aware that the Galway hurlers have a big X on their backs this year as defending All-Ireland champions.
Opposition managements will have minutely studied the personnel and style of play that won them the Liam MacCarthy Cup last year and will tailor their tactics accordingly.
While the challenge of playing the reigning champions will be an extra source of motivation for every team they come up against.
“Yeah, I suppose maybe there is a small bit of that,” said McInerney today at the launch of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.
“I suppose we'll just have to adjust our game to that and try to up our game as well at the same time.
“We'll have to up it and change it because teams will be analysing us and they're going to try to change things around to make things difficult for us.
“They're not going to play to your strengths in any way so you need to find better ways to get your strengths out. So we just need to really concentrate on getting better.”
Galway manager Micheál Donoghue recently warned against the dangers of complacency for the Tribesmen as they set out to defend the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
But McInerney doesn’t believe that will be an issue for the players because there’s so much competition for places now in the panel that no-one can afford to lose their focus.
And he also expects that strength in depth to be a real asset when it comes to playing four Leinster SHC matches in five weeks.
“There's a great team and panel there to compete," said McInerney. "When you're lucky enough to have a good strong panel it makes things a bit easier.
“Your strength really does come from your panel. Especially with all the games coming you'll need fresh legs to be brought in and you need lads ready for that and able for game-time.
“There's going to be less recovery-time between matches this year so that's going to be a huge factor. So it's going to be important to have everyone from one to 30 ready for their name to be called out or used as a sub and be ready to make a difference.”
Galway will be hot favourites to win their first match of the Leinster campaign against Offaly on May 12, but McInerney believes the trip to O’Connor Park will be a tricky one.
“It's going to be tough,” he said. “We can't take any match for granted. In fairness, we're just focusing on the Offaly match at the minute and can't look beyond that.
“It's going to be a tough ask even that match alone. They're a good, strong physical team and they know how to play hurling. They're a traditional team as well so it should be a great game.”