A place in the EirGrid U20 All-Ireland final against the victors of Tyrone v Cork is the prize on offer this Saturday in Pearse Park, Longford.
Throw-in for this hotly anticipated clash between Galway and Dublin is 5pm. This game is sandwiched between both Mayo and Galway minor matches, and is sure to draw a huge crowd in what has been an entertaining competition thus far.
Galway have attracted a large following in both league and championship encounters this season, and Galway support is expected to get right behind this promising team on Saturday.
Padraic Joyce’s charges have a 100 per cent record in competitive fixtures this season. It is an impressive record that has been achieved playing an attractive brand of attacking football. It is clear this side has been coached to play on the front foot from the first minute, and this ethos has endeared this team to football fans in Galway.
Galway rather eased through Connacht, shrugging aside the challenge of Roscommon and Mayo respectively. However, Dublin is a far stronger opposition than anything Galway have faced so far, and they will need to be at full throttle from the start if they are to advance.
A poor start like they produced against Mayo will be punished by the Dubs, so Galway must come out of the blocks quickly. Interestingly Galway have already played Dublin in the John Kerin Cup earlier this year, winning by a 13-point margin. That result, however, must be taken with a pinch of salt as championship football is a different kettle of fish.
Much like Galway, Dublin strolled through the Leinster championship with comfortable victories over Longford and Wexford before thumping Laois 4-18 to 0-17 last Friday evening in Tullamore.
Tom Gray’s Dublin side play a similar brand of football to their seniors, with quick incisive foot passing much to the fore of their game. Most impressive in that Leinster final for the capital side was Ciaran Archer, who finished with 3-08 to bring his total tally to 6-24 in three championship fixtures. As a result Galway and Seán Mulkerrin will need to keep a close eye on Archer if they are to prevail on Saturday. Two important players for Dublin on the day were Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne and James Doran, both of whom missed the league encounter in Ballinasloe between these two sides.
Joyce has made two changes to the side that beat Mayo with Brian Harlowe of St Michael’s replacing Ben O’Connell, and Tony Gill of Corofin coming in for Gavin Burke.
Galway have been solid defensively all year, limiting their opposition to a maximum of 11 scores in a game and this form will need to be replicated by the full back line of Ross Mahon, Mulkerrin and Eoin McFadden if they are to keep Archer and co quiet.
In midfield Mattias Barrett has been in excellent form, while up front they will be looking for inspiration from Matthew Tierney and the rapid Liam Costello.
It looks set to be a super game between these two well-organised, exciting teams, who play an exciting brand of football.