Noel Lane, a three-time All Ireland winner with Galway, believes his county have what it takes to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup at the second time of asking in Sunday’s hurling final replay.
Galway face Kilkenny again at Croke Park after a enthralling first final in which the Tribesmen controlled for long periods and raced into an early lead, but needed a late Joe Canning point to salvage a replay.
Despite what could be termed a second-half collapse, Lane does not see any reason manager Anthony Cunningham should adjust his tactics and expects a similar game this time out.
"Galway got a great start, went seven points ahead and it should have probably be more at half-time. We felt at half-time that, despite the fact it was back to five, that they would still go on and win it," Lane said.
"But at the end of the day we had to come back and level the game with a late point, a pressure point from Joe Canning.
"We’ll have learned a lot from the experience of that game. Kilkenny were probably saying to themselves ‘that’s the match, we’ve been around a long time’. It probably was like a hole in the head for them," Lane insisted.
"Galway are really excited by it, they’ve played an All-Ireland final, they’re hitting the ground running in the meantime and really looking forward to the replay."
Lane believes that a younger Galway side can again press the issue early on in the match and that a high-tempo pressure game can give the Tribesmen the advantage.
"Pace is the thing that will hurt Kilkenny. Nobody admires Kilkenny over the years more than myself and we don’t underestimate the massive challenge that lies ahead but I would say to Galway, use the pace from start to finish.
"Just be relentless from the throw-in, to half-time, to the 75th minute – whatever it takes – just run at them and I think that’s the one thing that could hurt Kilkenny."
"I’ve no doubt that Galway can (win). Kilkenny are Kilkenny, it’ll be a new game and we can talk all about the last three or four games they’ve played but when the ball is thrown in on Sunday, this will be a new game and it’ll take on its own life."