Galway manager Micheál Donoghue doesn’t see Tipperary going with a sweeper in this weekend’s All-Ireland final, and with good reason.
Donoghue was part of the Tipp backroom last year and is better placed than most to discuss the Premier approach: “It’d be a big surprise, yeah. I don’t think they will.
“I think your gameplan is going to be defined by the players you have.
“I think the way hurling has gone for the last number of years, with teams implementing a sweeper where you mightn’t have gone out with the intention to play one but invariably you’re going to end up with one.
“That’s what happens when you play predominantly Clare, Waterford, maybe Dublin in recent times.
“I think it’s a testament to teams that they’re able to adapt and that’s what was a real positive from our own perspective in that we knew that Clare, more than likely, would have.”
Donoghue doesn’t see his experience with Tipp last year as a huge advantage this season: “I don’t think it is, going back to the league game, I was asked it as well.
“The way both teams play, they know each other so well from colleges and past experiences and past games, that it doesn’t matter.
“I would love to be able to say, ‘Do this and it is going to work,’ but every game is different. I would love to say, ‘Yeah, I have the answers,’ but sure look, time will tell.
“Going into any game, if you have knowledge of players, you are, as a coach, going to be looking at strengths and weaknesses.
“But it is very easy before a game to say that this fella does this, that fella does that, but it is very hard to go out and counteract it.
“Both teams are filled with quality players and I would love to have a magic wand and say just do this and we will get the result.
“We are expecting a huge game from them, they are bitterly disappointed after last year, they want to go a step further and both teams are the same. It is going to be a massive game again.”
The Galway boss doesn’t want a shootout — but wouldn’t be surprised to see one.
“The middle third is going to be huge, you have to win that battle there, obviously, to limit the supply going inside. Those are massive areas against any team and that is going to come down to your attitude, your workrate, getting on breaking ball, so I think that is going to have a huge bearing on the game.
“It probably will be (a shoot-out), yeah.”
No surprise, given his respect for Tipperary.
“They have come through Munster fairly well, the win in the Munster final was pretty emphatic. I thought they have been really good, even going back to the Limerick game, the conditions that it was, they did really well and to tag on 20 plus scores for the day was really good.
“Look, Tipp are Tipp. They are a serious hurling outfit and they are going to be formidable opposition for anyone.
“Munster is so competitive and they are probably so used to each other at this stage, they haven’t come through it without a massive test so hopefully on Sunday, it will be a different story.
“But we know ourselves, from our recent games and the games we had ourselves, that we probably need a big step-up to compete with them.”
Last year Donoghue “did a bit on the field, some new coaching on the field and I did some tactical stuff for Tipp and I was up in the stand” — what was it like watching his county beat Tipp in the semi-final, then?
“It was hard, it was very hard, but it is like any job, when you are asked to do something, you just completely focus on the job that you are given.
“It was hard, but if you are going to get beat, Galway were probably the team you want to see, succeed and push on.
“It was a huge game last year for both teams, Tipp would have been disappointed with how they performed, I thought Galway, from start to finish, they were the ones that 100% deserved to win the game.
“They performed well but I don’t think last year is going to have much bearing on this game. Every game is different, every championship year brings something different.
“The only thing is that it will probably be more orthodox than anything we have encountered so far, particularly against Clare.
“You just don’t want it to turn into a shootout.
“Last year was a high- scoring game, Galway scored 20-plus points last year, and I know Tipp got the three goals, but both sides are going to look to reduce those concession rates.”
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