Cork and Galway boast two of the best forward lines in the country and here at Pundit Arena, we feel that the game on Sunday will be decided based on the performances of both side’s attacks.
Cork and Galway face off this Sunday in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Semple Stadium. A clash with Tipperary at Croke Park is the reward for the winner while the losers will more than likely see the loss of their manager.
Both Cork and Galway, possess potent attacking line-ups and both remain with question marks over their defence.
Cork, on one hand have the likes of Seamus Harnedy, Patrick Cronin, Conor Lehane and Patrick Horgan to call on while Galway have Johnathan Glynn and a deadly inside trio of Cathal Mannion, Jason Flynn and Joe Canning to their name.
Here, we take a look at three like-for-like battles which will prove critical in determing who comes out on top on Sunday.
1. Joe Canning vs Patrick Horgan
The winner of the scoring shoot-out between Patrick Horgan and Joe Canning is likely to be on the winning team at the end of Sunday’s quarter-final.
Joe Canning has been in sublime form this summer, racking up a superb tally of 4-32 in his four games to date with 4-09 of that coming from open play. The Portumna man has been back to his best at the edge of the square, using his brute force and physical strength to dominate the cintested high balls.
Canning has also re-assumed free-taking duties this year and has done so to great affect. A lot is expected of Joe this Sunday, but if Canning can deliver a goal early on, the 26-year-old will only flourish.
After a disappointing personal display against Waterford, Patrick Horgan has bounced back in impressive fashion against both Wexford and Clare. The Glen Rovers clubman notched nine points against Wexford, four of those coming from open-play and against Clare, he racked up eight points with three of those coming at crucial times from open play.
The Cork inside forward operated further out the field against Clare almost two weeks ago and it will be interesting to see where Jimmy Barry-Murphy positions his top marksman on Sunday.
2. Patrick Cronin vs Johnathan Glynn
Two hugely physical men who are great ball-winning assets to their respective teams. Glynn and Cronin will have a critical role to play on Sunday.
After two years of below par performances, Patrick Cronin has rekindled his form of old this summer. Operating at centre-forward, Cronin has been a key member of the Cork forward line, both in the scoring stakes as well as offering a reliable source to win Anthony Nash’s puckouts.
The Bishopstown man has racked up eight points from play in Cork’s three games to date and will look to further add to that tally on Sunday.
Johnathan Glynn, a very simliar player to Cronin in the sense that they are both left-handed players, is due a big game in the maroon of Galway and many feel that he will deliver against Cork on Sunday.
The Ardrahan man has lined out a wing-forward this summer for Anthony Cunningham’s side and has delivered a host of consistent displays. His puck-out winning ability and supply of ball in to the inside forwards has been crucial in Galway’s run to the quarter-final.
3. Conor Lehane vs Cathal Mannion
Although operating in different positions, Conor Lehane and Cathal Mannion are known goal-getters.
Lehane was unmarkable in Cork’s win against Wexford and will look to cause the same trouble on Sunday.The Midleton man scored a superb 1-06 that evening.
Jimmy Barry-Murphy has utilised Lehane in at full-forward and as a wing-forward. His pace and strength will cause Galway problems this Sunday and if he can eliminate his tendency to go missing in games, he can inevitably be a match-winner.
Cathal Mannion has too, been in fine form for his county. The youngster shot an incredible 3-03 against Dublin in the Leinster quarter-final replay and has since been a consistent scoring asset for Galway.
His skill and finesse compliments Canning’s power in the full-forward line and those two, along with Jason Flynn will look to rack up big tallies on Sunday.
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena