THE visit of Wexford hurlers to the West would normally not set the pulses of local fans racing, but this Sunday at Pearse Stadium (2pm) promises to be a much more fascinating occasion as the Slaneysiders roll into town under new boss Davy Fitzgerald.
Fresh from a rousing comeback win over Limerick in the opening round of the Division 1B campaign last weekend, Wexford will be heading to Salthill on something of a high for this critical National League encounter.
It will be the counties’ first clash in the competition since 2011 when Galway recorded a big win (1-24 to 0-6) at Pearse Stadium, but there is no prospect of a similar gulf between the teams in what is a key promotion battle.
For starters, Galway will still be without the unavailable Mannion brothers, Padraic and Cathal, together with Joe Canning, who won’t be included in the match-day squad as his rehabilitation from a serious hamstring injury continues.
Dual player Daithi Burke was due to rejoin the Galway panel on Wednesday night following Corofin’s weekend exit from the All-Ireland club football championship, but he is likely to be kept in reserve for the visit of Wexford.
Against that background, the Micheál Donoghue led management will probably stay loyal to the starting 15 which thrashed a woeful Offaly outfit in the opening round of the National League at O’Connor Park, Tullamore last Sunday.
Jason Flynn, who finished with 2-10 before being charitably replaced with ten minutes to go, Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney and David Burke led the Galway scoring avalanche in that game, while there was an impressive energy about the team – highlighted by full back John Hanbury – in general.
Team boss Donoghue knows, however, that Wexford are capable of providing a far more searching examination. “Since Davy (Fitzgerald) took over, they have been rejuvenated. There’s a lot of positives about them and they have played a lot of games.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.