Galway senior ladies are hoping to reach the final four for the first time since 2005 when they take on Clare in Birr on Saturday (4.15pm ).
Galway have twice disposed of Clare in the National Football League this season, including the division two semi-final which the Tribeswomen won by 3-6 to 1-10.
Since Gabriel Naughton’s appointment as manager in June, several players, including Lorna Joyce, Emer Flaherty, Annette Clarke, Aine Seoighe and Niamh Duggan, have returned to the fold, giving Galway added experience. And, with no fresh injury worries, Naughton expects another close encounter with their neighbous.
“Clare will be happy with the draw in that they avoided the likes of Cork. Like ourselves, they have a new management team and are making great progress. They are returning to where they won last Saturday and will be very confident.
“We know Clare, we played them in a very competitive challenge game a week and a half ago. The girls played them twice in the league as well and the matches were very close.
“Things are going well in training, the girls are working really hard and are really committed. We have roughly the same panel available to us as the one we had in the Connacht final. There is big competition for places all over the pitch, which is only a positive thing.
“Since the Mayo game there has been a bit of lull in that we didn’t know who we were playing and what weekend the match was on, but now we can focus. We are really looking forward to it.”
Galway’s defence will be spearheaded by Seoighe, Sarah Conneally, and Mairead Coyne, who was impeccable in the Connacht final win, while Emer Flaherty and Gillian O’Connor both made a huge impact in the Connacht final when introduced from the bench and will be pushing for starting places.
Galway will look to Edel Concannon for the bulk of their scores after the Tuam-Cortoon forward notched 1-8 against Mayo earning her the player of the match award.
There is confidence in Galway football at present with the u-16s cruising through their semi-final clash against Tyrone by 6-19 to 1-7 at Roscommon’s Ballydangan on Saturday.
Galway will now meet Cork, who also enjoyed a 4-8 to 3-5 2 win over Dublin, in the All Ireland decider on August 25 at McDonagh Park, Nenagh (1.30pm ).
Galway produced a ruthless display against the northerners. All six of forwards ran riot over their opponents, and within just eight minutes Tyrone were almost dead and buried as Galway led by 2-3 to 0-1.
Olivia Divilly was the first to blast home to finish off a superb solo run, while Ciara Burke followed suit. Louise Ward supplied Emma Reaney for the third goal before star of the day Olivia Divilly secured her second goal to lead by 4-9 to 0-2 at half time.