Clare kids to come of age

All week I’ve been wrestling with this one.

Two conundrums, Galway the bigger.

At the start of the year I’d have seen them as live All-Ireland title contenders, one of those ready to kick in the Kilkenny door.

After the league a few issues had emerged: the heavy defeat by Tipperary in Pearse Stadium and having lost by two points against tomorrow’s opposition in the previous round certainly set a few alarm bells ringing. But you’re making allowances, thinking they’re simply timing their run for the championship.

Then came Laois in the Leinster semi-final, a game Galway might well have lost were it not for the heroics of Joe Canning. The 12-point Leinster final loss to Dublin, what can you say about that? Such a tame surrender of a crown that had been so gloriously won. Whither Galway then?

You look at Clare and you have a far better idea of what you’re going to get. They’ll run and they’ll pass and they’ll score, we can be certain of that, and they found some goalscoring form against Wexford last time out, albeit in extra-time. But they showed a naivety against Cork, a lack of composure in front of the posts, and showed it again against Wexford in defence, and almost lost a game in which they were always the better side.

A lack of consistency then against lack of composure. If Joe Canning is held Galway are in trouble, if he’s not and if he gets support, Clare could be doomed.

Unless of course their forwards run amok at the other end and run up the kind of total we’ve seen a few times already. If, if, if, unless, unless…

Verdict: Clare.


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