Galway favourites to defeat Clare on Saturday evening

The bookies are confident who will emerge victorious between Galway and Clare this Saturday evening in the All-Ireland hurling phase two tie at Pearse Stadium at 7pm.

Galway are hot favourites with John McIntyre’s team having been installed at 2/5 while Clare are available at 12/5, and 11/1 for the draw.

The winners on Saturday night will face either Cork or Antrim in the next round on July 9 and would fancy their chances of getting to an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Manager John McIntyre has made five changes from the side that started against Dublin in Tullamore a fortnight ago. 

Into the defence comes Donal Barry at the expense of team captain Damien Joyce. 

Andy Smith starts in midfield instead of Barry Daly, and the injured duo of Ger Farragher and Iarla Tannian come into the half forward line with both Cyril Donnellan and Eanna Ryan dropped. 

In the inside line, Aonghus Callinan loses out to veteran Alan Kerins, while in a position switch last year's team captain Shane Kavanagh returns to fullback, with David Collins selected at left corner back.

Galway are in the last chance saloon for the 2011 championship in this outing, and as a result supporters are expecting to see a much improved display from that which was produced in their lacklustre defeat to Anthony Daly’s Dublin outfit.

That game showed a real lack of cohesion up front and their first touch was very poor all over the field.

Two weeks on and hopefully many of those issues that were unacceptable in Tullamore will have been addressed.

From a Galway point of view the time for talking is long past and each player and the management team will know that only a win and a good performance will redeem them to any degree in their supporters’ eyes.

Clare will be no push-over and they will travel with considerable belief after their impressive display against Tipperary in the Munster championship.

Ger O’Loughlin has his panel chomping at the bit and they tore into the All-Ireland champions with an impressive level of intensity and vigour.

They have many of their All-Ireland winning u-21 panel from 2009 involved and those young men will not stand on ceremony on Saturday evening.

They are hungry for a few championship scalps and, while they eventually went down to Tipp by nine points, it was the concession of a few soft goals that really hurt them.

They will be coming up the road ready for a battle.

However the Galway players should be well fired up to meet that Clare roar following their poor displays recently.

They will look to Joe Canning, Fergal Moore, Joe Gantley, David Collins, Shane Kavanagh, Tony Óg Regan, Damien Hayes, and team captain Damien Joyce to show leadership and to drive the side on.

The Galway team will be selected later in the week and Ger Farragher and Iarla Tannian are available after recovering from injury which gives the management some options.

There is much at stake in this game for the Galway players and their management team.

If they lose this game on Saturday evening, their season will be over in early July and it is doubtful if the same management team would be in-situ in 2012.

However, if they win, their season can take off again as neither Antrim nor Cork has been overly impressive to date either and both sides are beatable.

Galway v Clare: James Skehill, Fergal Moore, Shane Kavanagh, David Collins, Donal Barry, Tony Óg Regan, Adrian Cullinane, David Burke, Andy Smith, Joe Gantley, Ger Farragher, Iarla Tannian, Damien Hayes (Cpt ), Joe Canning, Alan Kerins.

First up is Clare though, and no one in the Galway camp is looking past that challenge.

The throw-in is at 7pm on Saturday in Pearse stadium and the game is also live on RTÉ and Galway Bay FM.

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