The Galway senior hurlers take their first step on the road to rehabilitation after their 18-point defeat to Tipperary when they face Waterford at Walsh Park at 2.30pm this Sunday in the last round of the NHL.
Team management will have to plan without the services of Ger Farragher (knee ), Andy Smith (broken nose ) and Fergal Moore, who had some scar tissue removed from his ankle last week.
However those absentees have been compensated by the news that some of players are ready to don the maroon and white again. They are, according to team management, “very close” to being right, and it is expected Joe Canning will be reinstated to the forward division for the first time this season.
All four of the longer term injured players, Damien Hayes, Shane Kavanagh, Kevin Hynes and Joe Canning have played competitively with their clubs in the past few weeks and are in the frame for starting jerseys this weekend.
David Collins and Aonghus Callanan are also available for selection after not being involved for the clash with Tipperary.
Having been beaten so comprehensively on the scoreboard and in so many facets of general play by the All-Ireland champions two weeks ago, Galway supporters and management team will be expecting a return to winning ways this weekend.
Team manager John McIntyre is demanding much more urgency from his players this Sunday.
“We face Waterford in what is akin to a league semi-final and I am expecting the players to be very determined to restore some pride at Walsh Park. We need to heed the wake-up call from the Tipperary game and thankfully it happened early enough in the year for us to address the problems that were there in Pearse Stadium.”
Waterford are also expected to be without two of their key players. Top forward John Mullane is on honeymoon and Richie Foley is out with a hamstring. Galway are the defending league champions and a win on Sunday would see them probably face Kilkenny in the league final.
It is all about the championship for the hurlers this season and trying to win some silverware during the summer, but in that context advancing to a league final and another 70 minutes of good competitive hurling against top opposition would be a real positive.
If that is what they want to do, then they need to do the business and get a win down in Waterford. With the impetus from the returning players, that should be achievable.