Ex Galway hurler says Tribesmen are ‘way ahead’ of Limerick

Ex Galway hurler feels Tribesmen are “way ahead” of Limerick.

Ahead of Limerick’s Allianz Hurling League Semi Final, ex Galway hurler Damien Hayes has insisted that Galway are “way ahead” of Limerick.

Prior to the League campaign, Limerick’s final round clash with Galway was tipped to be the decider as to who would spend 2018 in Division 1A.

As it transpired, Wexford overcame both counties to storm to the Divison 1b title thus making the clash between Limerick and Galway a dead rubber. In the Gaelic Grounds, Michael O Donoghue’s men ran out convincing 0-24 to 1-18 winners.

After defeating Cork and Waterford in the quarter finals respectively, Limerick will face the Tribesmen once more.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, former Galway star Hayes is in no doubt who he thinks will be victorious on Sunday.

“I’d feel Galway are way better than Limerick. I’d feel Galway have a way better squad and a better-settled team,” the three-time All-Star recipient insisted.

“I will be shocked if Galway don’t make a league final and I will be shocked if they don’t beat Limerick. I think Galway are way ahead of Limerick.”

Hayes comments are intruiging ones as in recent times, their success has been as limited as the Treaty men. Next year these sides will face off in the second tier of the League. Galway’s last Leinster hurling success was way back in 2012, albeit an impressive win over the cats.

To find their last U21 All-Ireland victory you would have to go back to 2011 although they were victorious in the minor series in 2015.

Limerick’s last Munster Championship victory came on a memorable day in the Gaelic Grounds in 2013, bridging a 17 year gap since they lasted lifted the trophy. Whilst the minors have not won an All-Ireland title since 1984, they have contested two of the previous three finals.

2015 saw Limerick storm to the U21 All-Ireland Final, defeating a strong Wexford side in Semple Stadium comprehensively. Many of these players are now plying their trade with Kiely’s senior squad and have shown great promise so far this Spring.

Kiely, who was manager of that all conquering side in 2015 knows these players better than anyone and has trusted them immeasurably in the League. The likes of Gearoid Hegarty, Mike Casey, Richie English, Diarmaid Byrnes and Cian Lynch have all performed well in the League, building on from the U-21 success.

It cannot be denied that Galway have performed better in the championship over the past couple of years, reaching an All-Ireland Final and All-Ireland semi final in the past three years.

However, this has not been converted into an All-Ireland. Despite Hayes’ confidence, Limerick might be a lot closer to Galway that Hayes would like to admit.

Although Hayes says he will be “shocked” if Galway fail to reach the League decider, don’t be surprised to see Limerick look forward to a first League final since 2006 come Sunday evening.

If ever the Limerick panel were looking for a spur to drive them on, Hayes’ comments will certainly give the team something to prove as they take the field on Sunday.

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