Injury woes for Shefflin's side ahead of trip to Premier county

Galway’s Sean Linnane and Westmeath’s Darragh Egerton in action from the Allianz National Hurling League Division 1 group b game at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galway’s Sean Linnane and Westmeath’s Darragh Egerton in action from the Allianz National Hurling League Division 1 group b game at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galway had a routine win in the first round of the Allianz Hurling League over Westmeath last Saturday afternoon in Pearse Stadium. The win was overshadowed however, by the news that Sarsfields forward Kevin Cooney will be out for up to five months after requiring surgery to repair a severe hamstring injury.

Galway will be hoping that Cooney can make a return in the latter stages of the championship if they can progress that far. For the second year running Henry Shefflin has lost a key option in attack for a significant spell as Jason Flynn suffered a similar injury last year.

Flynn notched 2-2 last Saturday as Galway racked up 4-31 en route to a facile victory over an understrength Westmeath side, with Conor Whelan also making his seasonal reappearance in the closing stages.

Shefflin made eleven changes to the side who lost the Walsh Cup final, with a number of players who played in that game cut from the league panel completely. Gavin Lee and Donal O’Shea continued to operate in tandem in midfield, while Jamie Ryan finally got some minutes under his belt as a second half substitute.

Whelan typically fired in a goal late on but of more significance was the news that the Kinvara clubman will take over the Galway captaincy duties for 2024, replacing Daithí Burke who also made his first start. St. Thomas’ Conor Cooney has been named as vice-captain.

Cooney and his victorious St. Thomas’ clubmates Fintan Burke, David Burke, and Shane Cooney may well be back in the fold for Galway’s next assignment, a more arduous test as they head to Semple Stadium on Sunday to take on a Tipperary side who also got their league campaign off to a winning start last weekend.

Liam Cahill’s side chalked up an eleven-point win away to Dublin with only six starters from the side that exited the championship at Galway’s hands last June. Jake Morris fired in 1-4 in a Man of the Match display as the Premier County finished 2-27 to 0-22 winners.

The counties last meeting in the league was in May 2021 at the same venue, when Tipperary came away with a 2-19 to 0-20 win.

Galway: D Fahy; J Grealish, TJ Brennan, E Lawless; C Fahy (1-01 ), P Mannion, D Burke; D O’Shea (0-2 ), G Lee (0-4 ); S Linnane, J Flynn (2-2, 0-1f ), J Cooney (0-1 ); E Niland (0-11, 6fs, 1’65 ), T Monaghan (0-5 ), D McLoughlin (0-2 ).

Subs: J Ryan (0-1 ) for McLoughlin (35 ), R Glennon (0-1 ) for Linnane (49 ), D Morrissey (0-1 ) for Burke (50 ), C Whelan (1-0 ) for Cooney (54 ), I McGlynn for Niland (60 ), D Loftus for Lawless (63 ).

Westmeath: N Conaty; C Gaffney, J Bermingham, D Egerton; J Gillen, K Regan, C Boyle; S McGovern, M Daly; O McCabe, D Clinton (0-1 ), N Mitchell (0-1 ); D Williams (0-7, 6fs ), E Keyes, P Clarke.

Subs: D O’Reilly (0-2 ) for Keyes (46 ), M Cunningham (0-1 ) for Daly (53 ), J Boyle for Bermingham (60 ), O Loughlin for McGovern (66 ), C Doyle for Clarke (66 ).

Referee: S Stack (Dublin ).

 

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