WITH both the Galway seniors and U20s bowing out of their respective hurling championships, it has been left to Brian Hanley’s minors to fly the maroon and white flag for the remainder of the Summer.
The U17s begin their championship with a tricky opener against Leinster finalists Kilkenny in the All-Ireland quarter-final round-robin series at Croke Park on Sunday (12pm). Victory will secure Galway a place in the semi-finals ahead of their second round-robin tie against Clare the following weekend, after Kilkenny defeated the Banner County in the opening game of the series last Saturday.
As reigning All-Ireland champions, Galway will be favoured to reach the knockout stages, particularly given they boast 10 survivors from the 2018 extended minor panel, including Sean McDonagh (Mountbellew/Moylough), Colm Cunningham (Moycullen) and captain Ian McGlynn (Kilconieron).
In addition to the aforementioned players, the squad boasts many of last year’s U16 outfit that defeated Cork, 1-11 to 1-6, in the Eugene Carey hurling tournament in Mallow. Among those are Gort’s Patrick Cummins — Galway’s goalscorer on the day — and Ahascragh/Fohenagh’s Niall Glynn, along with 2019 minor vice captains Christopher Brennan (Clarinbridge) and Eoin Lawless (Athenry).
Now under the mentoring of former Athenry great, Brian Hanley, who steps up to replace Jeffrey Lynskey after serving three years as Galway U16 manager, the squad would appear to be sprinkled with talent.
Another player of note is Ardrahan’s Oisin Slevin. He missed out on the U16 success last year due to injury. “Oisin is in contention to play the next day. He broke his wrist last year with the U16s and he has really come on leaps and bounds. He plays in midfield or in the half-forward line,” notes Hanley.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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