Galway GAA’s wish-list
By Ray Silke
1. Galway hurlers to win All-Ireland title
Having knocked on the door of All-Ireland senior hurling success last September against perennial winners Kilkenny, it would be fantastic if Anthony Cunningham's charges could take it a step further this year.
Galway's progress in the 2012 championship was a hugely enjoyable. Winning the Leinster title and reaching the first All-Ireland final since 2005 was great to watch. The management team and the players will know they will have to move things up another notch or two this year if they can return to the successes of 1987 and 1988.
Everybody knows bringing the Liam McCarthy Cup west is always incredibly difficult and beating the likes of Kilkenny, Cork, Tipperary or Waterford in championship is hard done. Nevertheless, after losing an All-Ireland final replay this season, the only logical objective is to try to go a step further the next year.
2. Galway senior footballers to make progress
It has been a barren few years for the players and supporters of Galway football. Our last senior Connacht title was in 2008 under Liam Sammon when the team, captained by Padraig Joyce, beat Mayo in Castlebar by 2-12 to 1-14.
Many of the players who lined out for Galway that day have since left the intercounty stage and when we face Mayo on May 19 this year in the championship, there will probably be a few new faces in maroon jerseys.
Nobody is expecting miracles and everyone acknowledges Alan Mulholland has a tough job.
All people expect and hope is some incremental progress and hopefully some new faces can make a breakthrough this season and add some badly-needed excitement and scoring power to the team.
Losing to Sligo and Antrim last year in the championship were body blows to morale, but hopefully there will be a settled enough team in the league in the next few months and we can take a few scalps in the championship.
If the footballers were to beat Mayo in May, it would open up the distinct possibility of a genuine crack at a provincial title. And that would be tangible progress.
3. St Thomas to push on from their county title success
There was stunning celebrations after St Thomas annexed their first Galway senior county title last November, and rightly so.
No doubt now they are turning their thoughts to having a crack at getting to Croke Park on St Patrick's day. They will believe that if so many other Galway clubs have gone all the way, why can't they?
First timers can be very hard stopped if they get a bit of momentum behind them. As an example, when Caltra won their one and only Galway senior football title in 2003, they went all the way to beating hot favourites An Ghaeltacht the following March to win the All-Ireland club title. It can be done.
John Burke's team have genuine scoring power up front in Conor Cooney, James Regan, Richard Murray, Bernard Burke and Anthony Kelly, and they have impact subs to come on too and change the flow of the game.
They will face Loughiel Shamrocks in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday February 9 and the bookies expect that the winners will be facing Thurles Sarsfields in the final.
The Tipperary men are 8/11 to win the All-Ireland, with St Thomas available at 4/1.
Hopefully the men from Kilchreest and Peterswell can continue their winning ways from last year and give the their supporters a finale to the club season that they would never forget.