Canning can shine and guide Galway to league silverware
Callanan-less Tipperary attack may be frustrated
National Hurling League final
Premier Sports, 3.30pm Sunday
Tipperary might win the war later in the year but Galway can win this battle. The Tribesmen need silverware and look value in the Division 1 decider at the Gaelic Grounds.
These two sides have served up some epic tussles over the last few years. They have met in the All-Ireland semi-final for the last two years on the trot with Tipperary winning by the minimum margin in 2016 and Galway doing likewise in 2015. Put simply, there is very little between the two teams.
The big difference is that Tipperary are the defending All-Ireland champions, while Galway are still searching for for some worthwhile silverware. That could change on this occasion.
Galway were always going to get better as the league wore on. Being stuck in Division 1B is a hindrance and a shock loss to Wexford means they will be paddling in the same shallow waters next spring too.
However, they have outclassed Limerick twice in the last few weeks and came from an unpromising position to get the better of Waterford. The Deise are one of the toughest teams around to reel in when they get a lead so for Galway to have done it in such emphatic fashion is an indication of how far they have come in the last 12 months.
The most improved area in the Galway side is their defence. They conceded two goals to Waterford but have not coughed up any more than a single goal in their other six outings this spring.
Limerick scored only 1-11 in the Division 1 semi-final and the Tipperary attack could be frustrated.
Tipperary have hit 5-18 against Wexford and 4-28 against Offaly in the lead-up to this decider and it was their second-half goal glut that made the difference in the win over the Model men. Up until they got the third goal, they looked in a spot of bother.
Michael Donoghue is sure to have spent hours upon hours on the tactics board trying to nullify Tipp's goal threat. The fact that Seamus Callanan is missing with a broken thumb is a massive boost where that is concerned.
Callanan has tormented Galway over the last couple of years and his absence will give them so much confidence mentally. He is the one player they have struggled to cope with in recent clashes.
The bookmakers look to have overreacted to Tipperary's recent scores and the 4-1 about them failing to find the net looks too big.
Galway need to start well if they are to have any chance of disposing of the All-Ireland champions so the way to go could be to back them to lead at half-time and full-time in the double result market at 9-2 with Ladbrokes.
Joe Canning was tipped to be the man of the match market for Galway's clash with Limerick last weekend and, while he did not win the award there, he is worth following once again at an extremely generous 11-1 with BoyleSports.
His accuracy was a little off last week but he looked sharp and dangerous at various stages. A big game is brewing for the Portumna clubman and where better to show what you are made of than in a league final? Expect him to be firing on all cylinders.
While these two sides have produced entertaining high-scoring encounters on the last few occasions they have met, it could be less open today so the 11-4 on offer with bet365 about 42 total points or fewer appeals.
Galway-Galway double result
1pt 9-2 Ladbrokes, bet365
Joe Canning Man of the Match
1pt 11-1 BoyleSports
Under 42.5 total points in Galway v Tipperary
1pt 11-4 bet365
No Tipperary goal
1pt 4-1 general
Already Advised (February 11)
Galway to win Division 1
1pt 7-1 bet365