Lynskey: Croker experience gives Kilkenny edge

All-Ireland MHC semi-final

Galway minor hurling manager Jeff Lynskey believes his charges are hugely disadvantaged by their lack of Croke Park experience heading into Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

Only two members of the All-Ireland quarter-final-winning team, Sean Loftus and Jack Grealish, were present on the Croke Park turf last August for the county’s 2014 semi-final hammering to Limerick, whereas Sunday’s opposition, Kilkenny, have already played at GAA HQ this summer.

Moreover, three of Pat Hoban’s Kilkenny team were central components of the county’s 2014 All-Ireland-winning side.

“Kilkenny are the benchmark, really, at minor level. We are playing them in Croke Park and it is our first day out there. They have already played there and a few of their lads played there last year. They are at a huge advantage,” reckons Lynskey.

“But look, it is every hurlers dream to line out at Croke Park. The carrot for all of us on Sunday is to get to an All-Ireland final. We have prepared the lads so they are not overawed. They are focused on a huge performance.”

Full-forward Evan Niland was their scorer-in-chief against Limerick a fortnight ago, tallying 0-9 of their 1-14, but Lynskey insists it is far from a one-man show in the Galway attack.

“Bar one, all the rest of the forwards scored the last day. Of the two subs that came in, one of them scored. We are all conscious of the fact we need to up our scoring chances and up our scoring in order to the win the game.

“We prepared well for the Limerick game and one advantage we had was nobody really knew what we had as a unit. Obviously Limerick knew a couple of our players, but, as a team, they wouldn’t have known much about us. Kilkenny will have had a good look at us and they’ll plan accordingly to what they saw in Thurles.

“We were expecting mistakes against Limerick because you can’t expect everything to click on your first day out. We know ourselves what areas we have to improve to get a positive outcome against Kilkenny. We played them in a challenge two months ago and drew.”


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