As part of a PA Roundtable ahead of the All Ireland Hurling Final between Galway and Limerick, we spoke to Tipperary hurler, John McGrath about his predictions for the titanic Croke Park tussle.
1. Who will be Galway’s key man and why?
If named as expected, Gearoid McInerney has a big part to play for Galway. The Galway full-back line will need protection and McInerney is very clever in closing down the space between the lines. Limerick create a lot of space in their full forward line which will cause Galway problems if it isn’t filled.
2. Who will be Limerick’s key man and why?
Aaron Gillane will have a big say in the outcome of the game for Limerick. His pace has troubled every team they have played and if he is more composed when in on goal, he could bag a few goals.
3. Galway’s experience v Limerick youth, how much of a factor will it be?
It’s difficult to tell which will be more important on the day. Limerick’s youth and speed will suit Croke Park and they won’t fear playing Galway. If the game is tight coming to the end, I think Galway’s experience may see them over the line especially in such a big game.
4. Million dollar question, who will lift the Liam McCarthy?
It’s very hard to call but I think the physicality and experience in the Galway team might see them over the line. It’s very much a lottery!
5. Predictions for Hurler of the Year and Young Hurler of the Year?
As usual the final will have a big say on these awards. If Padraic Mannion (Galway) has another good game he will be the front-runner for HOTY even if Galway are beaten. If Limerick lift Liam then Kyle Hayes will be in with a big chance for the Young Hurler award. He will need a big game in the final to pip Darragh Fitzgibbon to the award.
6. New hurling format, success or not?
Not from a Tipperary point of view! As a spectacle, it’s the most competitive and entertaining championship I can remember. With some small tweaks, such as every team getting a rest during the provincial championships, next year could be better.