Sylvie Linnane


“Waterford are a fine, strong, physical team. They’re great in the air. The problem I have is the sweeper system: how are we going to handle it?”

Sylvie thinks the game has gotten faster. “The ball has gone that bit lighter. A goalie now can puck it from square to square. It’s taking the centre-field play out of it – it’s only a breaking ball now that will win.”

Sylvie says hurling has become like a full-time job. “They’re training at half six in the morning, they’re training again in the evening, they’re training six nights a week.”

Sylvie thinks GAA players should be paid, specifically in the context of the GAA getting involved with Sky. “Sky and the GAA are getting enough out of it. The players are only amateurs and they’re creating entertainment, and they’re getting nothing out of it.”

Overall, Sylvie thinks Sunday’s match is “going to be a great occasion and there’ll be a new name on the cup”.

Paul Flynn


“Waterford have come a long way since they were beaten by Cork in the first round of Munster. To get to the All-Ireland final after a pretty poor showing in June is fantastic.”

Paul thinks Waterford will “keep it as tight as possible for as long as possible.

“There’ll be a lot of play on the middle third of the field. Whoever has their shooting boots on in the first three quarters of the match could find themselves going into the last quarter with a lead. Long-range shooting is very important.”

Paul says this week is tough for the players as the hurling is the “only show in town”.

“As a player, you just have to hide away and try to enjoy it as much as you can, but not take your mind off the game, which is going to be pretty tough, especially for Waterford.

“It’s only our third final in 40 years so it’s going to be difficult, but I think the experience that people gained from eight or nine years ago means they’ll be able to manage it better.”

Anthony Cunningham


Anthony thinks Galway will win by one to three points. “Waterford set up very defensively. Galway would have to rely on scores from out the field – I think it’ll be congested with Darragh Fives and Tadhg de Burca manning the fixed area there.”

Anthony says Waterford will play the match on their terms. “They won’t change. Even if they’re behind, they’ll try to keep it very tight and they’ll be happy to score seven, eight or nine points in the first half. They’ll be happy to take their points wherever they get a chance but they’ll prefer playing with a sweeper. I expect Tadhg de Burca to take that job and Darragh Fives to mark Joe Canning, so they’ll have two players around that area and that’ll leave a Galway defender who’ll be free and more than likely that’ll be Aidan Harte.”

The influence of Johnny Glynn off the bench will help Galway: “The Waterford backs won’t want to see him coming with 20 minutes to go.”

Seamus Prendergast


Seamus says the county of Waterford is relatively calm at the moment. “It’s not getting overexcited and people are tending to leave the players alone.”

Seamus thinks that if things can be kept low-key for the next few days, the nerves shouldn’t be a huge issue for Waterford.

Seamus notes that in 2008, “it went crazy really, there were up to 10,000 people at training for a couple of nights and it was a little overboard I suppose, but this year I think the supporters … are tending to leave the players get on with their job and train, and I think the experience of 2008 should help definitely.”

Seamus says his own highlights hurling with Waterford were winning the Munster final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the first time in 39 years in 2002, and being involved in the team that won the 2004 Munster final.

Ollie Canning


Ollie doesn’t “feel there’s any real outright favourites – it’s evenly matched”.

Ollie says the build-up to an All-Ireland final is different to any other game: “You get to the pitch a bit earlier, you’ll be out on the field earlier. You have all the media commitments coming up to the game as well. You have to understand that and accept that it’s all part of the All-Ireland final fanfare. I used to enjoy the build-up, even down to the parade beforehand where you have a full house at Croke Park. There is no better feeling than walking around in your county colours before the battle starts so I think the best way to approach this is to be aware of it but not to let it consume you, because at the end of the day you have to perform, you have to go out and stick to the process, stick to your job on the field. There’s no point in immersing yourself in the build-up to the game and then not performing – that’s the one thing that players find very hard to forgive themselves for.”

Ken McGrath


Ken thinks there’s very little between the teams. “There’s no fear about playing Galway. There’s no baggage there from past defeats or anything like that. Waterford have a great chance and we mightn’t get as good a chance again for a long, long time. I predict Waterford to win by a point or two. It’ll be very, very close.”

Ken played in one All-Ireland final and says nerves got the better of his team. “I suppose we were a long time waiting to get to one, we were involved in semi-finals for years and when we got to it we probably didn’t deal with the build-up as well as we should have.

“I know for a fact that the Waterford team have dealt very well with the build-up for this one. It’s Galway’s third final probably in four or five years so they’re well used to it as well, so I don’t think nerves will be a factor. I just think the Waterford team at the moment is in a different place when we got it 10 years ago.”

Noel Lane


“Having played in an All-Ireland and having managed teams in All-Irelands, it’s very difficult to predict, but Galway are in a very strong position to win,” says Noel.

“We have a very strong spine to the team, which was something we found difficult to do in the recent past.” Noel also says Galway have a very solid goalkeeper, “which has become more and more important in both hurling and football now”.

Noel thinks mental toughness could be the difference: “It’s very difficult for management and players to distinguish between the event and the actual business, which is the players have to go out and perform and deliver.”

Players’ mindsets have “to be right now because I feel that if there’s complacency or if there’s anxiety or if there’s different outside pressures, it’ll be too late to deal with those – I think – in the few days leading up to the game. That has to be all put aside, and players have to be completely free of any baggage.”

Stephen Molumphy


“I think it’s going to be 50/50. It’ll come down to the wire, basically it’ll come down to maybe one or two guys stepping out on the day, being exceptional on the day,” says Stephen. His heart says it’ll be Waterford by a point – or very close to it.

Stephen thinks Waterford need to get into a lead. “If they’re chasing a lead it doesn’t really suit their game plan – the defensive game plan they play – so they’ll be very keen to shut up shop at the start of the game, not let Galway get a lead ahead and then stick with them.

“If that’s the case, if they’re still with them at half-time and there’s only a point between them either way, then I think definitely Waterford have a great chance of pulling off a victory,” says Stephen.

Stephen is a company commander in the Irish army and has two young children who are “terrible mad about hurling” and will be watching this weekend.