Galway take on Kilkenny in the Leinster Final this Sunday
Galway are one of those infuriating sides. Just like Arsenal in the Premiership, its a case of them have the ability but not the aptitude.
Like the gunners, the Tribesmen possess the skill, the soft touches and the flair, but have lacked that bit of fight that gets them over the line.
However they seem to be one of the few teams to get under Kilkenny’s skin, and here some the moments of when they did.
2001 All Ireland Semi Final
Back in the days before Galway played in Leinster, they simply arrived in Croke Park to play hurling in August. In 2001 the Tribesmen beat Derry in the quarter final before taking on Kilkenny. The Cats were looking to set up a final clash with their old enemy, Tipperary. But Kevin Broderick had other ideas.
2005 All Ireland Semi Final
Typically Galway were unable to build on their final appearance in 2001 and were no longer seen as contenders by 2005. However they navigated their way through the qualifying group stages and beat Tipperary in the quarter finals, to set up another meeting with Kilkenny. From the off the Tribesmen put it up to the Cats as they simply ‘clicked’ scoring 5-18 in what was one of the best games ever played.
2009 Leinster Hurling Final
Brought into Leinster in 2009, the Tribesmen made their debut in the provincial final. Although Galway were to lose 2-20 to 3-13, Joe Canning announced himself as one of the stars of the game, scoring 2-09.
2012 Leinster Hurling Final
This was undoubtedly a high water mark for Galway. It was an emphatic victory that came at a time when Kilkenny were regarded as the best team to have ever played the game. Unbelievably the Tribesmen kept Kilkenny scoreless for the first twenty minutes and led by a massive 2-12 to 0-4 at half time. Although Kilkenny attempted to fight back, in the end they were defeated by ten points, as Galway won their first Leinster Championship.
2012 All Ireland Final
For Galway fans this was the one that got away. Having beaten Kilkenny in the Leinster Final, Galway dispatched Cork in the All Ireland Semi Final, to set up a rematch with the Cats. Once more the Tribesmen took the game to Kilkenny and led 1-9 to 0-7 at half time. It looked like Galway were going to edge it, but Kilkenny slowly ate into their lead and in the 69th minute were awarded a penalty. Henry Shefflin decided to take a point from the penalty leaving the Cats one up going into injury time. However in the 73rd minute Galway were awarded a free, yards from the touchline on the Hogan Stand side of the pitch. Joe Canning did the necessary to set up a replay. Unfortunately Kilkenny won it 3-22 to 3-11.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena