RTÉ hurling analyst Jackie Tyrrell has said that Galway must find their ruthless streak ahead of Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Cork at Semple Stadium.
Henry Shefflin’s side topped the Leinster Championship round-robin stage, but their momentum stalled with a passive provincial final performance that saw them lose out to Brian Cody’s Kilkenny.
That ensures that they head to Tipperary with many unsure of where the Tribesmen actually stand in the pecking order – and whether or not they possess the clinical touch that would make them genuine Liam MacCarthy contenders.
"It’s very hard to analyse where Galway are right now after a really consistent round-robin," Tyrrell told the RTÉ GAA podcast.
"Looking back [on the Leinster final] and with time to reflect, I think it was a combination of things. I think essentially they didn’t execute a lot of the opportunities that they got in front of goal. They didn’t have a clear-cut chance but they definitely had three to four chances. Conor Whelan had two, Joseph Cooney had one, and they definitely needed one of those opportunities to go in."
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Tyrrell feels that Cork now possess the defensive stability to repeat the dose of shutting down the Tribesmen – and he thinks one switch has really hardened the Rebel foundations.
"It’s amazing the impact a really good six can have on a defence," Tyrrell said of Ciarán Joyce.
"It just changes everything, it can just give you that solidarity. He’s an absolutely outstanding hurler but he just does the simple things so, so well.
"He’s way beyond his years with regards his experience, his positioning and he’s a six that Cork can build on going forward."
Even with that steadier backline, Tyrrell believes that Cork will cough up opportunities to Galway, but said that Shefflin’s men need to accept the invitation this time.
"One thing Cork will do, they’ll still give you one, two, maybe even three opportunities of goals every weekend.
"Will Galway be more clinical, more ruthless in front of goal to take those opportunities?"
He added: "No better man that Henry Shefflin to drive home the point of ruthlessness this week."
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Follow the All-Ireland Hurling Championship quarter-finals on Saturday, Galway v Cork (1.45pm) and Clare v Wexford (3.45pm), via our live blog on rte.ie/sport or on the RTÉ News app. Watch live coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player commencing at 1.15pm with live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1
Follow the Tailteann Cup semi-finals on Sunday, Sligo v Cavan (1.45pm) and Offaly v Westmeath (4pm), via our live blog on rte.ie/sport or on the RTÉ News app. Watch live coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player commencing at 1.30pm with live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1