Galway's season to start with Leitrim test

After a month without any football, Galway GAA supporters are eagerly looking forward to the beginning of the 2024 season which begins tomorrow (Friday ) evening in the Connacht GAA dome against Andy Moran’s Leitrim at 7pm.

The club football season finished for Galway fans when Corofin lost out to St. Brigid’s on December 3 but all that matters for the next seven months is what will Padraic Joyce and his management team have up their sleeves for the new season.

The FBD competition is a chance for Joyce to give game time to any new players who impressed during the club competitions while also maybe giving players such as Kieran Molloy or Liam Silke some minutes in a Galway jersey after missing the inter-county season in 2023.

With Paul Conroy turning 35 this year and Cillian McDaid currently out with a fractured tibia, this along with the non committal of Peter Cooke just yet, means that Galway are in need of at least one new midfielder for the majority of the league campaign.

Conroy has continued to impress in a maroon jersey but he is heading into his 17th year as a Galway player. Niall Daly remains part of the squad, Cein D’Arcy has been recalled to the panel after impressing in the Dublin championship for Ballyboden and Ciaran Brady has also been called in after a fine year with Corofin.

It remains to be seen what other players have been called into the development squad or have been added to the panel for the coming year, but one thing for sure is Joyce has never been afraid to throw a player in if they have been impressing on the training pitch.

The FBD is the perfect competition to give these players a chance before Mayo come to Salthill on January 28. With the league campaign and championship running so close together it is hard to find a chance to give unproven players a go.

This year's league will see Galway play seven games across nine weekends with the possibility of another league final before the tribesmen have to travel to Ruislip in April for the first round of the Connacht championship.

Joyce will hope that Shane Walsh will come back in better form this year after another long year between club and county that just finished with Kilmacud’s loss to Glen last Sunday where Walsh scored 1-2 but his side lost out by a point.

Walsh had, by his high standards, a quiet campaign for Galway in 2023 will now have a short break before hoping to hit the ground running on his return. Captain Sean Kelly is still recovering from ankle and hamstring injuries suffered last year, but has had a two month break recently to get his body right.

Despite reaching the division one league final and regaining the Connacht title, Galway’s season ended on a disappointing note last year.

After being in control of their group, Galway’s late loss to Armagh meant they finished second in the group and followed that up with a preliminary quarter final loss to Mayo a week later to end the year in June.

Joyce and his players will be keen to correct this and on Friday evening will begin what they hope will be a longer season than last year.

 

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