All the signs say Galway are a cut above
Tribesmen set to end 29-year wait for hurling crown
All-Ireland SHC final
Sky Action & RTE2, 3.30pm Sunday
It's 58 long years since Waterford's last All-Ireland win and their return to the big stage may be short lived as Galway have the firepower to do some serious damage to the Deise defence at Croke Park.
Waterford needed a replay to overcome Kilkenny in that 1959 decider but it should only take Galway one bite of the cherry to end their own 29-year wait to lift the Liam McCarthy Cup.
The Tribesmen are Division 1 league champions, Leinster champions and have the two best pieces of form on offer having trumped All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the league final and the All-Ireland semi-final. Everything points to Galway and sometimes it pays not to look beyond the obvious. All the clues are there.
They have played the best hurling in 2017, have an awesome attacking unit and now they have shown the mentality to get over the line when it matters most having held their nerve in a thrilling climax to their semi-final triumph over Tipperary.
Jonathan Glynn is an option too. Although named in the starting line-up, he probably still won't begin the game, but to call on a player with such size and strength is a massive bonus to Micheal Donoghue. He would be a viable Plan B if things are not going according to plan.
Galway's only blip arrived early in the spring when a Davy Fitzgerald-charged Wexford caught them on the hop and cost them promotion to Division 1A. They are unbeaten since and getting better with every game.
The general feeling was that Tipperary were still recovering from their All-Ireland triumph when Galway demolished them in the league decider but there were no excuses for the Premier County in the All-Ireland semi-final when they Tribesmen edged them out in gutsy fashion.
That proved that Galway can win ugly and, the fact that they were able to emerge victorious despite not playing particularly well is a tell-tale sign that Donoghue's troops know how to get the job done no matter which way the game pans out.
Galway have the skill, the strength and the scoring power to beat Waterford convincingly.
Gearoid McInerney has made the number six jersey his own this term and his presence at the heart of the Galway defence has made them much harder to break down.
Much has been made about the prospect of Austin Gleeson having the legs on Gearoid McInerney but the Galway defender has had a superb season and he will relish the prospect of keeping tabs on the Waterford wonderkid.
While Waterford have scored 11 goals in their five championship matches, three of those arrived after Damien Cahalane was sent off for Cork in the 52nd minute of the All-Ireland semi-final when the Rebels were chasing the game and space opened up.
A further two of those goals were scored in extra-time against Kilkenny. Shane Bennett is their deadliest finisher but is likely to lack support and finding the net won't be easy on his own.
Galway have reached the All-Ireland final by resisting the temptation of going for goals and picking off long-range points. They have failed to find the net in each of their last three games, scoring 0-33 in the win over Offaly, 0-29 in their Leinster final success over Wexford and 0-22 in the All-Ireland semi-final triumph over Tipperary.
Do not expect them to change their philosophy on the biggest day of all and goals could be at a premium. With that in mind, backing under 2.5 match goals at 11-8 with Coral looks a safe play.
Given how good the Galway rearguard unit have been this summer, and the fact they have have not conceded more than one goal in any of their four championship matches, it is worth taking the 11-4 about the Tribesmen keeping a clean sheet.
This could be cagey so 13-1 about no goals at all is also too big to turn down.
3pts 11-10 Betway
No Waterford goal
2pts 11-4 Ladbrokes, Betway
Total goals under 2.5
2pts 11-8 Coral
1pt 13-1 BoyleSports
Already advised (May 19)
Joe Canning to be Championship top scorer
2pts 4-1 Paddy Power
Joe Canning to win an All-Star
3pts 13-8 BoyleSports
Conor Whelan to be Young Hurler of the Year
1pt 3-1 Paddy Power