Ray Silke's GAA wish list for 2014

Continued progress for Galway footballers

It has been five years since the Galway footballers won the JJ Nestor Cup.

That is a long time - too long - while Mayo have been in their pomp in the province for the past few seasons. James Horan's panel. which enjoyed a team holiday in Dubai, will be going for a four-in-a-row of provincial titles in 2014.

Roscommon were the last team, other than Mayo, to win a Connacht title, back in 2010.

After contesting two consecutive All-Ireland finals, and the mauling they gave Galway in Pearse Stadium last May, there are not many who would give Galway much chance of stopping them achieving that milestone.

First up in the championship, Galway have a tricky away assignment to London in May. Alan Mulholland and his management team will not be looking past that fixture as regards championship progress.

Sligo were caught out in Ruislip in 2013, and London will fancy their chances of another upset against the Tribesmen this year.

Very few of the Galway team that won the 2008 Connacht title remain at this stage. Gary Sice, Paul Conroy, Michael Meehan, Gareth Bradshaw, Seán Armstrong and Finian Hanley are all that remain.

Galway football supporters will hope that some of the successful u-21 team from 2013, and a few other players from the club scene, will step up to help man the barricades and push the team towards a solid league campaign and some sort of silverware in the coming year.

Galway produced two solid performances at the tail end of last year's championship - beating Armagh and giving a good account of themselves against Cork. Hopefully those displays can be built upon over the coming months.

Continued success for the Galway camogie teams

One of the main highlights last year was the thrilling success of the two camogie squads.

To win two All-Ireland titles on the same day at Croke Park was spectacular, and Tony Ward and his management teams deserve oceans of credit for the way their respective panels performed and delivered on All-Ireland final day.

Having taken so long to get back to the top of the national camogie ladder, it would be fantastic to consolidate the county’s position and have another cut at retaining the All-Irelands in 2014.

A successful year for new hurling captain - Joe Canning

Ever since he burst on the scene as a colossal talent at minor and club level, there has been enormous expectation of Joe Canning.

He has delivered in the main, and his All-Ireland successes with Portumna and three All-Stars with Galway, are testament to that fact.

Now Canning has been handed the county senior captaincy for 2014, hurling supporters will be hoping he can inspire those around him to greater things and get Galway back to being extremely competitive, as they were in 2012.

Under Anthony Cunningham two years ago, the seniors won a first Leinster title (beating Kilkenny by 10 points ) - and went on to contest the All-Ireland final that season. It was progress, and for a while at least, people believed the All-Ireland famine at senior level was about to come to an end.

Unfortunately it was a few steps backwards last season, and all GAA supporters in Galway will be hoping there will be a marked improvement in fortunes over the coming months.

Having watched Clare's stunning progress and success in 2013, all the other top five or six counties will feel they can make progress, with the right attitude, and correct management systems in place. And if the players can go out and play with real belief and flair.

If Portumna can do well in the up-coming All-Ireland club series, it can also provide a fillip to the county set-up, and hopefully, it will be the start of an impressive year for Galway hurling at all levels.

 

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