Tuam Stars favoured to win first title since 1994
This Sunday there is a county senior football final to be savoured and anticipated.
Tuam Stars, the most illustrious club in the county with 25 senior titles on the roll of honour, take on 2006 All-Ireland club champions Salthill-Knocknacarra in Pearse Stadium (4pm).
It is a novel pairing in a county final and it is good from a Galway footballing perspective that the domination of the Frank Fox by Killererin and Corofin is given a sabbatical.
The 2012 final has the makings of a really good game. Both sides play attacking free-flowing football and are on the back of impressive victories over Corofin and Killererin in their respective semi-finals.
The Stars, managed this season by Kevin Reidy and Jimmy O’ Dea, are 4/6 favourites to win on Sunday, with the city side available at 6/4 to enter the winner’s enclosure on home turf.
Tuam will look to county stars Gary O' Donnell and Conor Doherty to lead the way, while Salthill have their own duo of experienced Galway players in Finian Hanley and Seán Armstrong. Their side is captained by Finian Hanley.
Salthill-Knocknacarra bainisteoir Gerry Hughes is quietly confident his side can build on their impressive second-half display against Killererin.
"We have a few niggling injuries and we probably won't pick our starting 15 until tomorrow [Friday] night,” he says. “John Boylan, who is our regular midfielder, is out of the country currently on duty with the Defence Forces and we may have to plan without him too.
“ We are expecting a really tough game on Sunday and Tuam have been in great form over the past few months. They have been racking up some very high scores and they hit six goals in one of their championship games earlier in the season and also got two against Corofin in their semi-final win, so our defence will have to be on red alert for the challenge they pose. The likes of John Ross Bodkin, Conor Doherty, Jamie Murphy and Shane Curtin are very fine players and we know the challenge we face."
Interestingly one of the Salthill selectors this weekend is former Tuam Stars player Carl Donlon. The other Salthill-Knocknacarra selectors are Tadhg Begley, Pat O' Hanlon and Padraig Begley.
Can Tuam deliver?
There will have been much plotting and planning conducted for this game in the Tuam Post office over the past few weeks where joint managers Jimmy O’Dea and Kevin Reidy work. And, if they needed any advice from a footballing or tactical perspective, they could also seek counsel from former Galway stars Ja Fallon and Tommy Carton who also work from the district office.
Reidy, who has vast experience at club level having also been in charge of Kilconly and Menlough, is really looking forward to Sunday’s game.
“We are happy enough the way things have been going for us all year. Myself and Jimmy are lucky to be involved with a super bunch of lads. They are incredibly dedicated and they are highly motivated not to lose two finals in a row.
“We have guys like Ian McGough and Paul Doherty who are travelling huge distances to be available and they are an inspiration to the rest of us. Ian is based in Bristol and he has been going over and back for the past few seasons to represent the club and hopefully his dedication will get a tangible reward on Sunday.
“Salthill are a very good side and they have some really talented scoring forwards like Seán Armstrong, Seamie Crowe, Alan Kerins, Gary Cox and Gary Cox. If we don’t bring our A game on Sunday, we will be in trouble. We know that, but we are looking forward to the challenge of taking them on.
“ It is a very long time  since the club last won a county senior title and we are really keen to change that stat. Sunday will be tough, but we are up for the challenge. If we are good enough, we will win. If we are not, we won’t.”