New look Galway open National League against Derry at Pearse Stadium

The Galway senior footballers kick start their National Football League campaign this Sunday when they face Derry in Pearse Stadium at 2pm.

And to start the 2013 NFL season, Galway footballers will be sporting their new jerseys bearing the Supermac’s logo.

Hopefully it will be a very productive association for both parties concerned over the coming years.

On the field of play, it is an important game for Alan Mulholland's team and a game they will have targeted to win. There are two important league points at stake and a good start to the league would be a tonic for the panel.

Derry have been hot and cold on their travels over the past few years in both league and championship but, under the new management of Brian McIver, they are expected be organised, disciplined and keen to impress.

Three league games at home

Galway have only three league games at home venues this year -Westmeath and Wexford are fixed for Tuam and Pearse Stadium - and it would be terrific if these home games could garner four to six league points.

Galway were quite disappointing when they lost the final round of the FBD league to Sligo, but that was two weeks ago and hopefully will not be a factor in the team producing a good performance on home turf this Sunday.

Galway must plan for the foreseeable future without the services of Gareth Bradshaw (cartilage operation ), Tom Flynn (cartilage repair ), Conor Doherty (ankle surgery ) and Kieran McGrath (leg break ).

Galway manager Alan Mulholland, who is in his second year in charge, says Galway now need new leaders to step up to the challenge that lies ahead over the coming weeks.

"We are really looking forward to getting into league action. Due to the retirement of some terrific servants to Galway football, such as Padraig Joyce and Joe Bergin, we are looking to other players to show leadership and drive - to push things on. The next seven league matches will give opportunities to different players to really step up and become key players for the team.

"We are a very young team and panel in the main and we will need the more experienced players like Finian [Hanley], Michael [Meehan], Seán [Armstrong] and Gary [Sice] to anchor us and lead the way.”

However Mulholland still wants Galway to fight for promotion.

"We learned a lot last year and hopefully we can build on those lessons. Our objective in the league is to be extremely competitive in every game and give every game the respect it deserves. We hope to be in contention for promotion and a league final place coming into the last few rounds of the league.

“There is a lot of hard work to be done and that work starts on Sunday. Derry will be difficult to beat; nevertheless, if we play as we believe we can, we are well capable of doing so."

Brian McIver Derry manager for 2013

Former Donegal manager Brian McIver will be in charge of Derry this year having been appointed after a disappointing season in the championship which ended with defeat to Longford in the qualifiers. McIver's backroom team includes Paddy Tally, who was with Tyrone in the past when they won an All-Ireland title, and Paddy Crozier.

According to a statement that was released by the Derry County Board upon McIver's appointment, he was selected in line with a three to five-year plan and a strategic approach “which seeks to restore the Derry senior football team to competitiveness at the very top level of inter-county Gaelic football”.

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