Lane says criticism of Galway youngsters harsh

ALLIANZ HL DIVISION 1A:

Lane says criticism of Galway youngsters harsh

Lane’s former team-mate Conor Hayes, in the wake of Galway’s defeat to Kilkenny last Sunday, said the handful of newcomers introduced by manager Anthony Cunningham were “in-fill forwards”, nice hurlers but not adept at winning primary possession.

And while Lane expects recent minor graduates Pádraig Brehony, Jason Flynn and Cathal Mannion to step aside upon return of the Portumna contingent, he said their task wasn’t helped by the lack of experienced faces in the Galway line-up during the opening three rounds.

“Every league you will try one or two new lads, but the point to make is that you are throwing them into a settled team where they are surrounded by plenty of experienced heads,” he said.

“The problem for Anthony Cunningham is because he is shorn of so many players through injury and club commitments he has had to throw three new guys into the attack and they can’t count on Damien Hayes or Joe Canning for guidance on match-day.

“They have been asked to carry the can and that is tough on them. You can’t be expecting too much of them because they are so inexperienced.

“Geároid McInerney was started at centre-forward the last day and I don’t think he had ever played in the forwards before, but he did very well. It is just a pity the management can’t try out these guys one at a time around the more experienced players. They have impressed as much as they can.”

Cunningham will again be forced to trust in youth for this Sunday’s crunch tie at home to Tipperary, the Premier men bidding for a sixth consecutive league win against the Tribesmen.

“In such a tight league you can’t be affording to lose two games never mind three. Both teams have disappointed thus far.

“In a crisis like this you want to be able to put out your strongest team, but the management do not have that luxury. As a result I expect Tipperary to win.

“They have had it very easy these last few years, they have wiped the floor with Galway. They love the open spaces of Pearse Stadium and while you would expect Galway to raise it for a home fixture, that hasn’t been the case when Tipp have visited.

“Defeat for Galway wouldn’t be the end of the world, but at the same time you don’t want to be involved in a relegation battle and you certainly don’t want to be going down to Ennis to play the All-Ireland champions.

“There was a great deal of expectation surrounding the Galway team last year, they didn’t deliver. Consequently, this year no one really expects a great deal and that may stand to them.”

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