The Galway ladies take on Mayo this Sunday in the Connacht football final at 4pm in McHale Park. Galway will be hoping to avenge their heavy 4-17 to 2-7 defeat in the Division 2 league final to Mayo, and that result sees the home team as hot favourites to win this weekend.
However since that defeat Gabriel Naughton has come in as senior manager (replacing Con Moynihan, who stepped down ) and Sunday will be his first game in charge.
That change of management has changed the dynamic in the group and a lot of players such as Annette Clarke, Lorna Joyce, Aine Seoighe, Marian Hernon, Joanna Connolly, Edel Concannon, Maria Connell, Roisin Leonard and Niamh Duggan are back in the championship panel and will be available for selection on Sunday.
Unfortunately Lisa Leonard is unavailable due to a shoulder injury and there is a question mark over Emer Flaherty’s availability, as she only returns from holidays later in the week.
New manager Naughton who has tasted All-Ireland success at management level in the past at club level is very pleased with how things have gone over the past few weeks.
“We are shaping up well. Taking over has been a big challenge, but we are thoroughly enjoying it and we are really looking forward to Sunday. It is going to be difficult, and we know that, but we have gotten a very positive response from all the girls involved.”
Naughton is joined on the Galway management team by Nigel Concannon (St. Michael’s ), John Fleming (Clonberne ) and Shane Curley (Glinsk ) and he is keen to praise the huge contribution that his selectors are making.
“It is a great honour for us all to be involved with the Galway county team and with such a talented and committed group of players. We are going into Sunday’s Connacht final with very low expectations by people outside the group itself. That is understandable considering how strong Mayo have been over the past few years. However we have prepared well and we are going to Castlebar to produce the best performance we can, and give it our best shot. We are really looking forward to Sunday and I am confident that the girls will produce a very good and solid performance. Whether that is good enough or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Naughton also hopes that as many Galway football supporters as possible will make the trip to support the team.
“Hopefully all the clubs in Galway will try and rally some support for the team. There is a big spread of players on our panel and hopefully we will have a fair few supporters at McHale Park to give the team a cheer.”