Galway manager Anthony Cunningham will concentrate on his own charges and what they bring to the party rather than on the effectiveness of Cork’s new playing format when the sides meet in Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final clash at Semple Stadium.
Yet, Cunningham has been impressed with the way the Rebel County has figured thus far and said Cork’s decision to play an extra defender in recent games had worked well for them.
“They have set up well since losing to Waterford and keeping the extra defender back has worked well for them. It was a good win in Wexford and I was impressed with the way they played against Clare, especially the way they finished and closed out the win.
“But people shouldn’t be surprised, they are a fine side. They won the Munster championship last year and were in the All-Ireland final the year before. We know what we are facing and how tough they will be,” said Cunningham.
The Galway boss has been boosted by the way his men have responded to the Leinster final loss to Kilkenny and pointed to a great buzz in the camp as they head to Thurles.
“Of course we were disappointed to lose the Leinster final but when you look back on it you realise we left scores out there and conceded a few that could have prevented.
“I know it sounds simple, but you do the maths and realise we weren’t far off.
“It will be the same on Sunday. There is little between Galway and Cork, it will come down to the small margins, we all know that, and we just hope we come out the right side of it all.
“The build-up has been good, there’s a good buzz and this is what every hurler wants, a big championship match with it all hanging on the line,” added the former double All-Ireland winner.
Galway have not won an All-Ireland quarter-final since defeating Tipperary by two points in 2005 and since then have lost six encounters at this stage, twice to Kilkenny and Waterford and once to Tipperary and Clare.
They have defeated Cork in their last four senior championship meetings but six of their last nine championship exits have come at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
“We have had some disappointing days in Thurles but the lads love hurling there and won a lot there at underage.
“Our recent record against Cork is good but all these things really will have little impact on what will happen on Sunday.
“It will be just down to the two teams on the field on the day, what went before won’t matter,” added Cunningham.
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