Galway’s James Skehill believes that the experience of playing in an All-Ireland Hurling final will stand to the Tribesmen in Sunday’s replay against Kilkenny.
The 24-year-old, who made a stunning save from Colin Fennelly in the drawn encounter, feels his side have a better mindset for the third Championship meeting of the season with the Cats.
He said: “I find that I have a 10% to 20% increase in my mindset for my match day preparation. An All-Ireland Final is now common ground for both teams. We know what to expect in the lead up to the game, on the team bus, in the hotel, on the pitch etc.
"That’s all part of our pre-game build up now, where it wasn’t (for the drawn final). You were stuck in purgatory a small bit trying to envisage what would happen.
"It’s all common ground now and we know exactly what’s going to happen pre-game the next day.
"It’s all common ground now and we know exactly what’s going to happen pre-game the next day" - James Skehill
“The game ended in a draw so, for me, I have effectively parked that game. I try and take a few bits from every game, positive and negative, and I have done that. In my view now the drawn game is done and dusted and I am focused on the next day.”
Skehill spoke to GAA TV about trying to create chances from his puck-outs for the Galway forwards.
"When you come up against a defence like Kilkenny, with numerous All Stars all, all you can do, as a goalkeeper, is try and create attacks to gain an advantage for your team.
"You may only get a score directly off your puck-outs one in five times, but if that is the ratio that wins you the game than so be it. Other days it mightn’t work.
"The puck-out for the second goal (in the drawn final) worked and we had to be patient for that one. But you’re up against Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, Jackie Tyrell and these guys. They are all seasoned campaigners, All Stars and All-Ireland winners so all you can do is try your best to bring a puck-out to your advantage."
The Galway netminder admitted there was an excitement around the county, and he is expecting Kilkenny to come out all guns blazing in the replay.
"I suppose we are still in a final, the trophy hasn’t got a home yet. Supporters are still anxious to see how things are going to go. We still have a big game to play, against one of the greatest teams of all time, so there is a lot of nervousness and excitement in the county.
"I’m sure the Kilkenny attack will come out all guns blazing, as will our lads. We will just try and prepare for their attack, as we did the last day, and hopefully that might be good enough."