by Ed Leahy
Galway’s Leinster hurling final victory over Kilkenny has been consigned to the history books and it’s forward that the Tribesmen are now looking as they get set to renew rivalries with the Cats in Sunday’s All-Ireland final.
Anthony Cunningham’s Galway have qualified for their first Championship final since 2005 and captain Fergal Moore believes that it is the team spirit and commitment within the current squad that has set up Sunday’s showdown at Croke Park.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport ahead of the game, Moore said: “The team spirit in the camp is very good this year and everybody is committed to the cause and committed to improving and driving Galway hurling forwards.
“Things seem to have clicked for us this year. We’ve worked very hard in training and we’ve got the results that mattered.
“We’re on a good Championship run now and we’re unbeaten in a number of games but ultimately we will be judged on what happens on 9 September for the year and we’re all looking forward to that now.”
“Everybody needs to be driving towards the same goal and we’re focused on doing that at the moment” - Fergal Moore
The Galway captain also believes that another reason for this year’s success is down to the make-up of the current squad and Moore believes that Cunningham has been spot on with the assembled panel.
Moore said: “We have a good blend of youth and experience but it’s all about getting a performance from the fifteen players who take to the pitch and the subs that come on.
“Everybody needs to be driving towards the same goal and we’re focused on doing that at the moment.”
Moore accepts that the result over Kilkenny in the Leinster final was a great achievement but also believes that Galway have not been complacent and in fact have improved since the 8 July clash with Brian Cody’s Cats.
Moore added: “The Leinster final happened and we won it but we knew we were nowhere near the finished article after that match.
“Kilkenny won the second half of that game and we were disappointed with a lot of aspects of our performance in the second half so we got back to training on the Tuesday night, nobody got carried away and we’ve been working very, very hard on our game since.
And the Galway skipper is in agreement with Cody who believes that the All-Ireland final will be the main motivation for players to play well and not the earlier summer encounter.
Moore said: “The All-Ireland final is a huge, huge occasion and nobody needs any motivation to play in it.
“The stakes are high, there’s a huge prize up for grabs and both teams will be going out to win it.
“I envisage a huge test. It’s no secret that Kilkenny have been in the All-Ireland final each and every year for the past number of years and they win the majority of them. So we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a massive battle.
“But we’ve trained very hard all year. We’re an improving team ourselves and we’re focusing on delivering the very best performance we can, and if we do that, we’re confident that we’ll be in with a shout come the finish of the match.”