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Ger Loughnane Blown Away By Galway Performance

Ger Loughnane Blown Away By Galway Performance
By Mary Stafford

Ger Loughnane wondered if Galway had the hunger needed to win successive All-Irelands prior to today's Leinster final replay in Thurles.

The Clareman thought lifting Liam MacCarthy last September may have sated Micheál Donoghue's side. Not everyone is like Kilkenny whose unquenchable thirst Loughnane explained with a near moment of poetry.

"Kilkenny are a bit like the pine marten: once he tastes blood, he becomes a mass murderer. He just kills for the sake of killing," said Loughnane on RTÉ before throw-in at Semple.

By full-time, Loughnane had his answer regarding this Galway team. He had expected a meltdown from Galway as Kilkenny rose from the dead, cutting a substantial deficit down to the minimum. That meltdown did not happen.

This is something that I've never seen a Galway team do before. They start off the game in lightning fashion; they go into a 12-point lead and you say the game is over.

Then into the second half and they're leading by nine points in the 40th minute. Next thing, Kilkenny half-backs take over, the Galway midfield drops out of the game and it's down to a point.

Now, queue, usually, a complete meltdown by Galway but instead of that Joe Canning got a point, Cathal Mannion got a point. They started to open a lead again.

A display of character. It's more than a Leinster Championship victory - it's a reassurance for the players themselves that they are a team of real character.

Loughnane said that as a neutral, he hasn't enjoyed a game of hurling as much in a long time. Any doubts he had about Galway's champion credentials are gone - a considerable statement given that the two-time All-Ireland winning manager has never been afraid to criticise the Tribesmen.

"We said at the start: 'Are they going to prove today that they are a champion team?'

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"Forget about being All-Ireland champions, they proved today that they are a champion team with all the characteristics, especially as you said there Michael [Lyster], the character.

"Cyril [Farrell] knows that with the likes of Clare and Galway, your character is always questioned until you really prove it. One All-Ireland doesn't prove it but they proved it today. That's what will give them most satisfaction and most encouragement going into the semi-final."

See Also: Babs Keating Slates Johnny Glynn For Wearing Two Gloves

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