In a repeat of the 2018 final, Galway will face Kerry in the Junior All-Ireland final this weekend in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
After prevailing in an incredible game against Meath in Hyde Park on Saturday, the Galway players will have enjoyed little rest time before facing Kerry on Saturday evening as part of a double header.
Just a week to recover after a match that went to extra time may not be enough for the Galway players who face a team gunning for five-in-a row,
A score line of 7-17 to 5-22 is rarely heard of in football these days, and thankfully Galway came out the right side of it. After trailing by seven at half-time, Matt Duggan's charges came out for the second half determined to give it all and leave nothing behind them. In the end it took an injury-time goal from Enda Tierney to bring this game to extra time. Gary Kelly finished with a personal tally of 2-7, Johnny Ryan came off the bench and scored 1-5 from play, and both teams played incredible football at times on the day neither deserved to lose.
Now Galway face a repeat of last year's final when they let Kerry off the hook with some poor shooting. That game finished 2-13 to 2-11 with Galway kicking 15 wides during the match. Now the players and management have the chance to right some wrongs from that defeat, a game which they did not deserve to lose.
Galway do have a much changed side from last year, but still have some of their key players, including Alan Molloy, Michael Day, Johnny Ryan and Thomas Gleeson who have all played their part over the two years. Padraic Cunningham, Antaine O’Laoi and Maghnus Breathnach have all moved on and played their part for the Galway senior team in 2019.
Former senior footballer Sean Denvir has been one of Galway’s standout players throughout the championship. After winning the man of the match in the Connacht semi-final against Sligo, the Michael Breathnachs' player will need to produce another big performance if Galway are to beat this Kerry side.
Having returned for another year at the helm, this is the ideal final for manager Matty Duggan. After losing last year's decider, Galway will not have looked too far ahead, but they will have always wanted another crack at Kerry, especially after leaving the game behind them last time.
The return of Tuam Stars Darragh O’Rourke has added some steel to this Galway defence. With Cathal Reilly also returning from injury, Galway will have a much meaner defence than 2018.
An open game is expected on Saturday and with some super forwards on both sides, this game could very much end up in another shootout.
Throw in is at 5pm on Saturday evening after the Galway hurlers clash with Clare in the quarter-final of the minor hurling championship.