Selector Noel Larkin enjoying build up
By Cian O'Connell
The Liam MacCarthy Cup is the considerable prize for the victors so Galway selector Noel Larkin is enjoying the build up to another All Ireland Final.
Galway claimed their first title since 1988 last year, but at this stage Larkin, a highly regarded coach, relishes the last few weeks of the adventure.
"Defintely, yeah everyone wants to be involved in the biggest day of the year," Larkin says.
"The semi finals are for getting over the line and getting to the final and once you are there, it's not that you take the foot off the gas, but everything is done and its a matter of fine tuning and putting the plan in place for the opposition and hopefully roll it out on the day and it works."
Larkin is hugely impressed with how Limerick's campaign has unfolded, highlighting the Treatymen's gritty comeback against Galway in March to secure promotion from Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League.
"We saw them first hand in the Legaue in Pearse Stadium," Larkin admits. "It's common knowledge we were six of seven points up that day and they came back and pipped us at the post at the end.
"Now we can put it down to training - they were a bit ahead of us, but the fact remains they have been earmarked from early in the year as one of the contenders and it is no surprise they are in the final."
Larkin acknowledges that it was a setback for Galway. "I won't say it was a shock obviously you are disappointed any time you lose a seven or eight point lead at home," Larkin states.
"It was very disappointing, we always stress the importance of trying to get out of 1B and Limerick knocked that on the head. We seen them up close that day and they are a serious outfit."
In the lead up to Sunday's Croke Park decider significant emphasis is being placed on the impact made by Limerick's substitutes at the penultimate stage, but Larkin feels the Galway panel is strong also.
"I think more depth is a great point," Larkin remarks. "At extra time in the drawn game in Croke Park I looked around and I think there was five All Stars on the bench for whatever reasons, taken off, injury or emptied the tank.
"We have used 26 players this year in the Championship, we have great depth in the squad and against Clare in extra time our panel got us over the line. More depth is something we looked at and we are happy enough where we are going on that score."