This Saturday at 3pm in Pearse Stadium the Galway u-21 footballers hope to bring the county back into the provincial winners’ enclosure when they take on current champions, Roscommon in the Connacht final.
There have been slim pickings for the maroon and white at this grade in the past few years and one has to go back to 2005 and the “Meehan and Armstrong goal fest” in the All-Ireland final against Down to get that loving feeling.
However hope springs eternal and, following an impressive victory over Sligo in the semi-final, the mood among Galway supporters is positive. The victors on Saturday will face either Kerry or Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Alan Mulholland and his two selectors, Donal Ó Flathárta and Alan Flynn, have worked assiduously with their panel over the past few months and, unsurprisingly, they have stuck with the same 15 that hit the Yeats’ men for 2-20 in the semi-final. Milltown’s Mark Hehir notched 0-9 in that game and Eric Monaghan hit the two goals and they will again be key players for the side this Saturday if the team is to advance.
Midfielders Tomás Flynn and Fiontán Ó Curraoin are both just out of the minor grade from last season and they will need plenty of support on the breaks in the middle third from their more experienced teammates Tomás Fahy, Conor Doherty, Michael Boyle and Johnny Duane against an experienced Roscommon outfit.
Team manager Alan Mulholland is in a positive frame of mind.
“We have prepared well and, apart from Paul Donnellan [Mountbellew], we have no major injury worries. The mood is very good in the camp and we are all looking forward to the contest.
“Roscommon are a good side and they have a few players from last year’s success so we know we will have to produce a top performance to get over the line. We have a very talented and dedicated bunch of young Galway footballers on the squad and they have worked diligently for the past few months to get to this stage.
“It is a home game which is a plus and I would ask the Galway GAA public to come to Pearse Stadium on Saturday to support this side. Hopefully we will have good home support and we will produce a winning display to give our supporters something to cheer about.”
Galway u-21s: Manus Breathnach (An Spidéal ), Gary Sweeney (Mountbellew ), Colin Forde, Cpt, (Killererin ), Aongus Tierney (Tuam Stars ), Joss Moore (Mountbellew ), Johnny Duane (St James ), Tomás Fahy (Killererin ), Tomás Flynn (Athenry ), Fiontán Ó Curraoin (Micheál Breathnach ), Conor Doherty (Tuam Stars ), Mark Hehir (Milltown ), Michael Boyle (Killererin ), Danny Cummins (Claregalway ), Patrick Sweeney (Killanin ), Eric Monaghan (Caherlistrane ).