All-Ireland SHC Final: Canning to crown his career with a Celtic Cross

King Canning to be crowned?
King Canning to be crowned?
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Galway are favourites to land Sunday's Hurling final and Donnchadh Boyle finds it hard to disagree with the Betfair betting...

"The stage is set for one of the game's modern greats Joe Canning to crown his career with a Celtic Cross."

Galway v Waterford
Sunday September 3, Croke Park, 3.30, F Horgan (Tipperary)
Live on RTE2 & Sky Sports Arena and Main Event


Match odds: Galway 1/2 - Waterford 9/4 - Draw 10/1

In many ways this final is the neutral's dream. Galway could be set to end a 29-year wait for All-Ireland title, just weeks after one of the stars of their back-to-back team of 1987-88 Tony Keady passed away.

On the other hand Waterford haven't won the All-Ireland since 1959 and they have earned themselves an army of admirers on their way to a first All-Ireland final appearance since 2008.

Galway go into the game as clear favourites and it's easy to see why. A physically imposing team with at least a dozen of the starting team expected to clear the 6ft mark, some of their number have vast experience of the biggest day having played in a drawn final and a replay in 2012 against Kilkenny while more featured in their 2015 defeat to the Cats.

And while the have the edge in big game experience, form also points to a Galway win. When the sides last met, Galway came from ten points down midway through the second half in a league quarter-final in April to win by three. In fact, the Tribesmen haven't lost since February when they went down to Wexford.

Waterford's season has been less straightforward but they have recovered well from defeat to Cork in the Munster Championship and they can point to the fact that history is heavily in their favour. The Deise and the Tribesmen have met ten times in championship hurling with Waterford winning all of those games. The first clash was way back in 1938 with the most recent fixture seeing Waterford run out ten point winners in a 2011 qualifier.

Derek McGrath has a few selection headaches ahead of the game. He'll be relieved that star man and reigning Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson is free to play after escaping sanction for a helmet pull in the All-Ireland semi-final but he is without namesake Conor Gleeson after his red card. The latter will be a loss given his capacity to shut down marquee forwards, of which Galway have a few.

McGrath also has to make a decision as to who to deploy as his sweeper. Tadhg de Burca is likely to return to the role he has carried out so well all season after missing the All-Ireland semi-final through suspension but Daragh Fives was a more than able deputy in that game, meaning the choice might not be so straight forward.

Given the form of his starting side Micheal Donghue's selection looks to be a little more predictable with the likes of Jason Flynn, Johnny Glynn and Shane Moloney all set to be held in reserve.

That's impressive artillery to have on the bench and might just be able to tip the game in Galway's favour. The Tribesmen have shown too they can get around the type of sweeper system Waterford will employ when they saw off Wexford in the Leinster final. And while there's no doubt that Waterford are further down the road in terms of being comfortable with that gameplan, the stage is set for one of the game's modern greats Joe Canning to crown his career with an Celtic Cross.



Joe Canning to score a sideline cut @ 5/2

It's written in the stars for the Galway man to deliver a big performance and he landed a sideline cut in the semi-final game and is likely to have a go from anywhere within range.


Under 2.5 goals @ 8/5

Galway's record when it comes to raising green flags is surprisingly poor. They have scored just two goals in the championship, with both of them coming in their opening day win over Dublin. Waterford raised four green flags last time out but three of them came after Cork were reduced to 14 men so goals might be hard to come by in this game.


A penalty to be awarded @ 9/4

With Galway's much vaunted set of forwards and Waterford's extra man back it's not difficult to forsee a scenario where a penalty is awarded. The Deise counter attacking style might require some last ditch defending at the other end too.

Recommended Bets
A penalty to be awarded @ 9/4
Under 2.5 goals @ 8/5
Joe Canning to score a sideline cut @ 5/2

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