THE Christmas decorations may not yet have been restored to the attic but already thoughts have begun to turn to the new GAA season which will get into full swing over the next number of weeks with a plethora of Galway teams, hurling and football, due to return to action.
As always, the All-Ireland club championships tend to take centre stage over January, February and March and, in this respect, Galway is not short of representation across the various codes and grades.
Both of the county’s intermediate champions, hurling and football, are in action on Sunday, January 20. Oranmore /Maree travel to Parnell Park, Dublin to face Ulster holders St. Gall’s while An Spidéal also face Antrim opposition, Naomh Éanna, in their penultimate tie in Navan on the same day.
Both games throw in at 2pm on January 20, with the All-Ireland intermediate finals in the respective codes to take place at Croke Park on the weekend of February 9-10.
This is also the weekend Galway senior hurling champions St. Thomas’ commence their bid for a second All-Ireland crown when they cross swords with Ruairí Óg Cushendall of Antrim in their semi-final at Parnell Park on Saturday, February 9 (3pm).
While 2013 All-Ireland club winners St. Thomas’ will be favourites to advance, they will be taking nothing for granted against a club making its 12th appearance at this stage of the championship.
Indeed, Cushendall’s last semi-final outing will give them plenty of reasons for optimism, given they defeated Galway opposition, Sarsfields, to qualify for their first ever All-Ireland club decider in early 2016.
Although they have never lifted the Tommy Moore Cup, Antrim teams have appeared in nine finals, with Loughgiel Shamrocks claiming national honours on two occasions. Of course, Loughgiel are an outfit St. Thomas’ are wholly familiar with as the Galway champions required a replay to push beyond them when they met in the semi-final in 2013.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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