GALWAY DEFENDER SHANE Cooney says high-scoring games in hurling are good for the sport and for the entertainment of the fans.

Galway’s Shane Cooney.

Source: David Fitzgerald/SPORTSFILE

The game has come in for scrutiny in recent weeks. Various aspects of the sport have been criticised, including the high scoring tallies in matches, the weight of the sliotar, and the emergence of defensive playing styles.

Cooney’s team-mate, and 2017 Hurler of the Year, Joe Canning dismissed the commentary around the game this week and suggested that “people seem to give out about things a bit more lately than they ever did”.

Cooney agrees with the Portumna forward and believes the high volume of scores serves to improve the game as a spectacle.

“Every sport is going to evolve over the course of many years. Back years ago, you look at the Cork team from maybe ’04, ’05, you could say that running game at the time was a shock, but like that, the game keeps evolving.

“It just happens with time. You’ve a lot of very smart people in background teams working a lot of hours and [putting] a lot of resources into it so they’re always going to analyse what they need to do to solve the problem that’s in front of them.

“Overall, I think it’s great to see the higher scoring games, not necessarily from a backs’ point of view but from an entertainment perspective, I think it certainly benefits the game.”

The Tribesmen were crowned Division 1A champions on Sunday but will not progress to a league final to determine an outright winner in the top tier.

Galway rallied from six points down at half-time against Cork to win by a margin of five in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

That comeback result rounds off an encouraging run of games for Shane O’Neill’s side after previously picking up wins against Westmeath, Limerick, and Waterford.

Kilkenny prevailed in Division 1B and if the sides meet during the championship campaign, then that meeting will double up as a league decider.

But changes to the league format on account of the condensed fixture calendar mean the league competition cannot be concluded the traditional way.

“The league is great,” says Cooney.

“It’s fantastic with the value it adds in terms of getting the opportunity to play at the level. I’d imagine that feeds across to the camogie side of things too where they’re getting massive value in terms of trying new players out as well. In terms of promotion as well – the league still does get a massive amount of focus.

“I think we’re lucky having the likes of Littlewoods who are willing to support the games. They’ve been doing it for over five years now, making sure that both games do get equal promotion whether that’s in the league or across championship as well.

“It’s disappointing that you don’t get to play a league final. I think we still have to drive on and focus on what’s in front of us and look onwards to championship.”

Galway will begin their Leinster SHC in July with a qualifier system returning again for the All-Ireland championship. 

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Cooney is becoming a more regular face in the Galway starting line-up, although he missed out on selection against Cork after previously sustaining a knock to his thumb against Waterford.

The St Thomas’ man reports that the injury is not “as bad as initially thought” as the championship approaches.

“There’s a lot of competition for places which is great,” he says. “It’s what you want from a team point of view. All I can do is keep pushing myself as much as I can. I picked up one or two niggly injuries along the way which does kind of impact on momentum a little but you can’t let them interfere with pushing the overall team.”

Littlewoods Ireland is proud to support both Camogie and Hurling for a 5th year running. The Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League final is live on RTE this Sunday the 20th June at 7.30pm while the Division 2, 3 and 4 finals will be streamed live on LWI_GAA Twitter.

The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship begins Saturday 26th of June #StyleOfPlay.

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