Galway put their 2010 100 per-cent winning record on the line this Sunday when they face Tipperary in Thurles.
This game will be a big step-up in standard and class from their games against a depleted Limerick and a disjointed Waterford.
Tipperary showed what they can do by defeating Kilkenny last weekend, and, in players such as outstanding full-back Pádraic Maher, Brendan Cummins, Lar Corbett, Eoin Kelly, and last year’s captain Conor O’Mahony, they have some serious quality.
They laid down a marker of intent last weekend and the pictures of Liam Sheedy pushing Brian Cody in the chest near the finish signalled their mood for the coming season.
Galway selector Joe Connolly says Sunday will be a very good test for the team.
“The mood is very positive in our camp, and we know that this will be the biggest test of the year so far. But we are looking forward to it. We are trying to build for the championship and games like Sunday give our players an opportunity to show what they can do and put provisional names on championship jerseys.”
Connolly is looking at the big picture.
“We are trying to get the team playing to a particular plan and yet allowing them to be free spirits. Balancing the two is not always easy, but I believe that a certain freedom of play suits Galway hurling. Our two away games [Tipperary and Kilkenny] will be very tough games, but if you want to get to the top, you have to play the best teams on the way.
“Liam Sheedy is in his third year as manager and he has all his players available, so he will want to build on last week’s victory. We are missing the Portumna lads so it won’t be easy. We will probably freshen up the side a little and give a few more players some game time, but we won’t finalise the starting 15 until tonight [Thursday].
Galway will be looking to experienced players such as Damien Joyce, Shane Kavanagh, Tony Og Regan, Ger Farragher, Aonghus Callanan and Cyril Donnellan to lead the battle and they will need the likes of Joe Gantley and Iarla Tannian to provide the scores if they are to collect two points this weekend.