Diarmuid O’Sullivan: If Galway win, it’ll be one of the greatest All-Irelands ever won

Diarmuid O’Sullivan has some advice for Limerick if they want to put a stop to Galway's All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship defence…


There’s nothing like All-Ireland final week! From a Galway point of view, they know what it’s all about now from last year and they will manage themselves correctly.

To be fair to Micheal Donoghue, he’s done an excellent job on managing the camp – just like last season.

Limerick on the other hand are relatively new to this, given their last All-Ireland appearance was in 2007.

John Kiely got the players’ media duties out of the way early too, so the pressure of those is now off and both managers will want to prepare their teams in the best matter possible to have them in the best shape for Sunday.

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Every player prepares differently, but the most important thing for me was to get what you had to do out of the way early.

Get your tickets done, because the last thing a player (particularly a new one on the scene) needs is friends, family or clubmates hounding you for them. You don’t want to be drawn into all that, you’ve got to box clever.

In my own experience of it, I reckon you learn as it goes on year-to-year.

It’s an All-Ireland, there can be a circus going on around it all outside of the game.

History doesn’t need to weigh Limerick down

Obviously, Limerick hurling people will say it’s a long wait since 1973.

However, I believe it would be very unfair to put that pressure on the panel and you must remember that none of these players were even born back then. It’s not their burden to carry or their cross to bear. This is a fresh crop who are learning on the job.

There’s a big prize at stake and I’d ask why burden a new group with old failings?

Limerick do have an advantage in the extra week they’ve had to prepare for the final. Freshness at this time of the year is key – both in mind and body.

You need to be at your peak for an All-Ireland final. So, the extra week off is certainly an advantage too them.

The question for them is, what do they do with that week? Did they do some extra recovery? Did they get all their video analysis out of the way?

It is still a week Galway didn’t have.

How to dim Jonathan Glynn

I remember Donal O’Grady saying to me ‘if you’re on a big man the first thing you do is you need to keep the ball out of his hand’.

Looking at a few guys that have come up against Glynn this year, they all seem intent on winning the ball. But any full back line with a good goalkeeper will tell you that you need to focus on getting the ball to the ground.

You get your hand across him and knock the sliotar to ground, it’s just the slightest touch. Then your two corner backs or your goalkeeper need to be aware of the ploy.

They should know that you are not going up to win the ball directly, but what you’re going to do is break the ball where it is in an advantageous position for me or the defenders or goalkeeper to sweep it up.

I know it’s easy to talk about in theory, but Mike Casey is just going to have to get level to him – especially on the high balls if Glynn ends up in full forward.

If Casey can get it to the turf, that’s his advantage then because he’s lower to the ground and he’ll be on that break like a rash. In games of this magnitude it’s the little details that make all the difference.

Glory for Galway

If Galway win this title, what does it say about them as a team?

In my own humble opinion, if Galway win this – it will be one of the greatest All-Ireland wins of all time.

Mainly due to the amount of games they’ve played to do it. It’s unprecedented!

It would be as big as any achievement within the game of hurling. The physical toil they’ll have put themselves through to do that with the Round Robin series, the replay of the Leinster final, extra time and a replay in the All-Ireland semi-final is enormous.

What that demands of a guy’s body is incredible.

I said earlier on in the year that Limerick would run this Championship very close. I believe I predicted a semi-final for them and possible finalists.

I still felt Galway were the team to beat at the time. As a player – who is still playing – and a supporter of the game, I must say I have to admire where they are.

The ball is in Galway’s court and it’s theirs to lose. Limerick do have a right chance, but it just might be a small bit too early from them in their development.

Either way it’s another novel pairing in the final, which is only good for the game of hurling.

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