All Ireland champions next up for Galway footballers

Galway's Adrian Varley could be in line for a starting position on Sunday.

Galway's Adrian Varley could be in line for a starting position on Sunday.

The Galway footballers are in action against three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions Dublin this Sunday at Pearse Stadium (2pm ).

Jim Gavin’s men have been in terrific form over the past few weeks, beating Mayo with ease in McHale Park and also trouncing Kerry on Sunday at Croke Park. Their 12-point win, by 2-17 to 0-11, was sealed by two goals from their playmaker Ciaran Kilkenny, and the impressive Niall Scully.

The array of talent Gavin has at his disposal is staggering, and worrying from a competitive perspective for most other counties.

They won Sunday's game pulling up and that was without calling on the considerable talents of Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Fitzsimons, James McCarthy, Paul Mannion, Kevin McManamon, Paul Flynn and young gun Con O’Callaghan, who were all absent for a variety of reasons.

Dublin are a really serious outfit, possibly the best team ever, and Galway will in all probability be taking them on twice in the next three weeks, including the league final on April 1 - unless Dublin were to lose their next two games. Dublin play Monaghan in their last game on March 25.

Galway continued on their winning ways with a 0-17 to 1-10 victory over Monaghan on Sunday with good displays from corner backs Eoghan Kerin and Declan Kyne.

Johnny Heaney kicked two lovely points and was very prominent, while free taker Barry McHugh (0-5fs ), team captain Damien Comer, and substitutes Seán Armstrong, Adrian Varley and Peter Cooke all made solid contributions on their arrivals off the bench.

Now Galway are in the league final and have 10 points from five games, the management team of Kevin Walsh, Seán Conlon and Brian Silke are expected to freshen the squad this weekend and give game time to a few panel members who have not enjoyed much playing time.

Damien Comer has played in several tough games over the past eight weeks for both NUIG and Galway, and there will surely be a temptation to rest the Annaghdown man and also keep a few tricks in reserve for the upcoming league final at Croke Park in a fortnight’s time.

With Armstrong and Varley doing well on their introductions, they might get starting jerseys this Sunday, while a spell on the bench might do Shane Walsh no harm either as some of his option taking last weekend was unsatisfactory.

Thomas Flynn also came off the bench on Sunday and he could be worth a start next Sunday to get some game time into his legs and assess his current form.

The difficulty for Galway is that they do not want to go out with too much of a weakened team - a heavy loss would not do much for morale in a camp that is riding high on a winning league run and almost certainly facing the Dubs again so soon.

Dublin’s bench is by far the best in Ireland. They could bring in six different forwards on any given day and still beat almost anyone. To prove that point, their two last subs against Kerry were Cormac Costello and Emmet Ó Conghaile, who are both top young players and would be starting forwards in almost any other county team in the land.

It will be a huge challenge for Kevin Walsh’s side in three days’ time, but it is super to be back playing the best teams and none have been any better than the Dubs since 2014.

They are already odds-on favourites to make it four titles on the trot next September.

Their trip to Salthill is something to be anticipated by all Galway supporters and it will be interesting to see how the home side face up to what will be a mammoth challenge.

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