Galway hurling is due to announce the starting 15 tonight (Thursday ) after training for the eagerly anticipated clash with Clare in Cusack Park on Sunday (2pm ).
There is some doubt over team captain Fergal Moore, who is struggling with a groin injury, while Tony Óg Regan has been out of training with a bout of flu. Cyril Donnellan is also still suspended from league action.
On the plus side, regular midfielder Andy Smith is available for selection after missing the win over Kilkenny in Pearse Stadium due to suspension and it will be interesting to see if he is brought straight back into the team.
Galway selector and team coach Mattie Kenny is very eager to try to put two wins back to back.
“We are targeting the league semi-finals this season as it would keep us in competitive hurling later into April and the more games we get at that stage of the year, the better,” he says.
“We hope to keep the team freshened up during our run in the league and our training is now more geared to improving our touch and brushing up on the hurling skills. We have our capacity running phase over now and our training is getting more hurling specific. As we sharpen up on our skills, team play and systems, we expect to see some improvements. Hopefully that will be in evidence on Sunday.”
Kenny knows Sunday’s clash will be tough and that Cusack Park is not an easy place to go. However he is optimistic.
“We did not have a good day last Sunday in the Railway Cup final at the same venue, but we had not targeted that competition too much. However, we do want to get a win this Sunday and we will be going full out to get the two points.
“ There will be a large and passionate crowd from Clare on Sunday and we are hoping for a big Galway support too. It is important for us to build up a bit of momentum and, after the win over Kilkenny, we are approaching Sunday in a positive frame of mind.”
Clare, promoted from 1B last season and under the guidance of former Banner star Davey Fitzgerald, will be hard to beat on home turf as they have introduced a few new faces from their u-21 successes of recent seasons. Having been beaten narrowly by Waterford in the first round, they will be gunning for a home win.
Despite last weekend’s 1-22 to 0-15 defeat in the Railway cup final, the bookies fancy Galway strongly to win this tie and they are priced at 8/15.
The Connacht team that lined out last Sunday in the Railway Cup final was all Galway: C Callanan; J Coen, K Hynes, P Killeen; B Flaherty, D Collins (0-01 ), N Donoghue; I Tannian (0-01 ), A Smith; P Brehony, N Burke, C Donnellan (0-01 ); N Healy (0-03 ), J Canning (0-06, 0-05f ), T Haran (0-01 ). Subs used: D Glennon (0-01 ) for Brehony (27 mins ), J Glynn for Burke (29 ), J Cooney (0-01 ) for Killeen (41 ), D Hayes for Haran (46 ), A Harte for Smith (55 ).
Galway hurlers supporters’ bus
The Galway Hurlers Supporters’ Club will be running a bus to Cusack Park in Ennis on Sunday.
The bus will leave Ceannt Station at 11am on Sunday and there will be pick-up and drop-off at: Oranmore, Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Ardrahan and Gort.
Cost is €10 per person.
Contact [email protected] for any further details.