Cork v Galway: All-Ireland hurling quarter-final talking points

Cork face Galway in Thurles in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Here are the key questions that must be answered on Saturday.
Cork v Galway: All-Ireland hurling quarter-final talking points

Patrick Horgan is replaced by Tim O'Mahony against Tipperary last month. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

1. WHAT ROLE WILL PATRICK HORGAN HAVE?

Even if his form had dipped a bit, it was still a jolt to many supporters that the all-time top-scorer in championship was on the bench at Corrigan Park. Some speculated Horgan was being rested but that wouldn't be in keeping with the management's respectful approach in Antrim. They picked what they felt was their strongest 15 with Tim O'Mahony coming in as a target man ahead of Horgan.

What was more surprising was Horgan wasn't the first sub in, especially when Shane Kingston was called ashore. The selectors opted for the hard-running Conor Cahalane instead and he did make a significant contribution as Cork overturned a one-point halftime deficit.

When the Glen legend was introduced in the closing stages he looked sharp, popping over two neat points, which, despite the small Cork crowd, went down as well as you'd expect. Along with his ability to rifle over from any angle he's an absolute hero to the Rebel faithful. 

Hoggie coming on to fire split the posts with the game in the melting pot in Thurles on Saturday would electrify the Cork crowd. 

Joe Deane had that impact, where his scores were worth more than anyone else's in Rebel red. 

Last weekend was just the sixth time in Horgan's 70 championship games he came in as a sub and the first in 12 years. 

2. HOW GOOD ARE GALWAY? 

Just like Cork, Galway have been pretty inconsistent in recent seasons. Favourites for Leinster time and again, they were unimpressive in the loss to Kilkenny and it's difficult to argue that Henry Shefflin has made them a more formidable side than they were under Shane O'Neill.

In fact, it's very hard to gauge their status.

All-Ireland champions in 2017 and finalists again a year later, the Tribe's record since includes elimination in the group stages in 2019, defeat to Limerick in the last four the following season and a quarter-final loss to Waterford last summer.

Since then, Joe Canning has retired but they're still leaning on their veteran core of Daithí Burke, Pádraic and Cathal Mannion, Johnny Coen, David Burke, Joseph and Conor Cooney, and Conor Whelan. 

Conor Whelan of Galway tries to sign his autograph for young supporters. Picture: Ray Ryan/Sportsfile
Conor Whelan of Galway tries to sign his autograph for young supporters. Picture: Ray Ryan/Sportsfile

Whelan is a powerhouse forward, by a distance their best performer in the Kilkenny defeat, but Galway haven't brought through a lot of young talent.

3. CAN CORK MATCH THE DÉISE DISPLAY?

If Kieran Kingston's side hurl with the intensity, work-rate and purpose they showed in Walsh Park last month, they'll be back in the All-Ireland semi-final.

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