The Galway minor footballers, under the management of Tommie Joyce, will face Roscommon this Sunday (12 noon ) in Hyde Park in the Connacht final.
The Galway lads have produced two solid displays which resulted in large victories against Sligo and Leitrim to reach the final, while Roscommon had an impressive win over Mayo to get to this juncture.
Sunday will represent a big step-up in intensity and class. Roscommon have some fine young players and the Smith brothers, Donal and Enda from Boyle, were impressive in their win over Mayo. Wing back Conor Daly from Pádraig Pearse’s and team captain John McManus from Roscommon Gaels also caught the eye.
Galway’s Tommie Joyce, who won two All-Ireland senior medals with Galway, knows his charges will have to produce a strong 60-minute performance if they are to defeat the Rossies in their own back yard.
“Roscommon have a good side and they are very highly rated down there. They are talked about in the same vein as the side that won the All-Ireland minor title in 2006 so we will have to produce an improved display from what we have shown so far this season.”
Joyce has plenty of good players in his squad and he is confident they will do the county proud on Sunday.
“We have worked hard all year at training and we have a lot of very fine young players in our panel, so we are travelling with plenty of belief in the squad. James Shaughnessy [captain], Conor Rabbitte and Shane Maughan were involved last season at this grade too and hopefully their experience will stand to us on Sunday.
“If we play to our potential and play consistently for the hour, like we have played at stages against Sligo and Leitrim, we have a fighting chance. Thankfully we have a strong bench too and we expect that it will take a 20-man effort on Sunday to get over the line.
“Hopefully we will have a fair bit of Galway support, too, as that can make a big difference at this grade.”
Galway are favourites with the betting men to win and are priced at 4/6, with Roscommon available at 6/4.
The Galway team to face Roscommon was selected on Tuesday night after training in Pearse Stadium and is as follows: Conor Gleeson (Dunmore ), Liam Silke (Corofin ), James Shaughnessy (cpt ) Ballinasloe, Conor Cunningham (Corofin ), Eoin Walsh (Maigh Cuilinn ), Gearoid Canavan (Salthill ), Cathal Mulryan (Cortoon Shamrocks ), Shane Geoghegan (Oranmore ), Sean Moran (Claregalway ), Patrick Glynn (Dunmore ), Ian Burke (Corofin ), Adrian Nolan (Killererin ), Conor Rabbitte (Kilkerrin/Clonberne ) Shane Maughan (St Michael’s ), Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne ).