Galway footballers and hurlers set to blow away the cobwebs

Killannin's Cathal Sweeney who has opted out of the Galway senior football panel for the coming year.
Killannin's Cathal Sweeney who has opted out of the Galway senior football panel for the coming year.

SUPPORTERS of the big and small ball will be delighted to see the Tribesmen back in action in both codes this weekend as the senior footballers face old rivals Mayo in the FBD League and the hurlers go head-to-head against Dublin in the Walsh Cup.

Each of the provincial pre-season tournaments that Galway’s senior teams are involved in have been reformatted and contracted this year and, in both cases, it has resulted in less fixtures for Kevin Walsh and Micheal Donoghue to negotiate.

Both enter the fray at the semi-final stage of their respective competitions and this means the footballers and hurlers will be playing teams which already have competitive game-time under their belt.

Galway footballers face Mayo at Tuam Stadium on Sunday (1:30pm) and, although Walsh has been running the rule over 10 new additions, there has been little change in the core of squad.

Salthill/Knocknacarra’s Sean Armstrong has retired from inter-county football while the Sweeney brothers, Cathal and Patrick, have opted out for 2019. These though have been offset by the return of Cillian McDaid from Aussie Rules side Carlton and Corofin defender, Liam Silke. Both represent huge additions.

Of course, the inspirational Paul Conroy is still sidelined with that horrific injury he sustained in the Super 8s victory over Kerry at Croke Park last Summer while St. Michael’s Eammon Brannigan is also on treatment table following an operation on an ankle.

“Then you also have a blast of sickness and flus going on because of the mild winter. So, there is a lot going on but, I suppose, we are looking forward to getting back on the pitch on Sunday,” outlines the Galway football manager.

No doubt, after a hugely positive year in 2018, Walsh and his players have been keen to return to action and, in this respect, he is disappointed to have lost out on the traditional round robin series of FBD games in early January.

“I have always stood by that competition,” he states. “We missed those games for developing players but, having said that, this year, in the background, we have had two or three challenge matches and we have given the players the same exposure. It is just that they haven’t got it openly.

“I think, though, it is important for players that they be seen to play for Galway and the FBD allows that. So, look it, we have had the same preparation in giving the new players game-time. Again, the only thing is that it hasn’t been out there among the public and you would see a bit more when players are put out in the public domain.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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