OFFALY, GALWAY AND Dublin all made it through to the Leinster semi-final but what have we learned from the weekend’s hurling. Shane Stapleton takes a stab at it…
Wexford have a new go-to guy
He may just be 19 years of age but Jack Guiney showed real leadership on Saturday night at O’Connor Park. Three times the young Rathnure hurler stood over 21-yard frees and on each occasion he went for the jugular.
Jack Guiney’s father, Dave, only began hurling in earnest at the age of 18 but, as Keith Rossiter told us during the week, he remembers seeing the son being brought to county training all the way back in 2003.
Guiney jnr put away just one of three 21-yard frees but that one was a bullet, another ricocheted off the crossbar and the final one, with the game on the line, was parried away by a defender.
When the game is in the mix, he is a guy Wexford know will have the cajones to put the family reputation on he line.
Something is rotten in the state of Laois
A dramatic Shakespearean reference but the point remains: not all is well with the O’Moore County. It must have felt like a recurring nightmare for Laois fans as they went a full 40 minutes without scoring against Dublin, less than a year after Cork rattled off 10-20 against them in a qualifier.
Teddy McCarthy needs to have all of their players making themselves available for selection, so they must get their house in order.
The Lake didn’t dry up
Yes Galway were well in the ascendancy and had a 1-12 to 0-04 half-time lead and stepped off the gas but few people would have raised an eyebrow had the scoring continued in this manner.
Brian Hanley has instilled a belief in his players, one that saw them outscore the Tribe County, albeit 4-8 to 4-7, in the second half. As Galway found out against Kilkenny in the league, early setbacks can quickly lead to massacres. As such, kudos to the Lake County.
Galway manager Anthony Cunningham got five goals without injured Joe Canning ©INPHO/James Crombie
A Rushe job can be perfectly acceptable
In Liam Rushe, Dublin have one of the most versatile players in the hurling championship.
Put him in the half-forward line and he’ll win you ball, put him full-forward and he’s a goal threat, midfield if there’s a battle, got a problem at the back and he can play at six.
Goalkeeper and among the full-back line are the only positions we are yet to see the St Pat’s Palmerstown man play in, though he’d probably do you a job there too. A dream player.
Galway put on a show without Joe
Joe Canning was a late withdrawal from the Galway team on Sunday against Westmeath and while that was not a massive shock given that he had hurt his shoulder in a challenge last week, it was interesting to note how potent they were in his absence.
So often, he provides both the immediate goal threat but, as is not always appreciated, he sets up chances too. Indeed his very presence takes attention off others.
Westmeath might not be challenging for medals this year but they fight to the end, so collecting 5-19 against the Lake County was an excellent return without your best scoring forward.