McIntyre: We will learn lessons from defeat

McIntyre: We will learn lessons from defeat

John McIntyre feels his Galway team have what it takes to bounce back from yesterday's Leinster SHC final collapse and launch a concerted challenge for All-Ireland honours.

Trailing by three points at half-time and with a wind advantage to come, Galway looked ideally placed to put it up to defending champions Kilkenny in the second half.

But the first-time finalists fell off the boil and allowed the Cats to pull clear and run out 1-19 to 1-12 winners for their sixth successive provincial crown.

Speaking afterwards, Galway boss McIntyre said: "The game was there to be won at half-time, but we failed to kick on in the third quarter.

"We were a little bit flat. Maybe the two games against Offaly took more out of us than we thought. In the third quarter Kilkenny opened up and before you knew it, the match was half over.

"We were making switches all over the place, trying to get the lads going again. Our backline was under awful pressure."

Many observers felt that Galway's long ball tactic made life easy for Kilkenny's well-structured defence, and that they did not do enough to get their main attacking threat, Joe Canning, into the game.

The Portumna youngster struggled to make an impact and was double-teamed for much of the encounter, before scoring two late points.

McIntyre added: "We wanted to attack Kilkenny. We felt looking at the Offaly game that even though the other forwards were doing well, Joe (Canning) was marginalised at corner forward.

"So we felt that one of the best ways to signpost our attitude was to put him on the 40. It didn't work out - our forwards struggled to win primary possession, but kept battling to the bitter end."

This was a setback for a Galway side that has become used to winning since the start of the year. However, their manager has no intention of changing things dramatically for their upcoming All-Ireland quarter-final.

"We have got to heed the lessons learned today, we’re still in the Championship. We can't rip up the template that has taken us so far this season," he said.

"Prior to this, we had played 13 competitive matches and only fallen once (to Tipperary), We have the Walsh Cup and the National League trophies on the sideboard.

"We knew we were facing a stiff rise in standard today, we prepared mentally and physically for it but it's easier said that done when you're out there against hurling's greatest ever team.

"We face a massive test of character to regroup for the All-Ireland quarter-final but that's the challenge we have to embrace."

The two quarter-final matches - down for decision on Sunday, July 25 - will see Galway and the losers of the Munster final between Cork and Waterford face the winners of the two phase 3 qualifier ties.

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