This weekend the Tesco HomeGrown National Football Leagues enter the semi-final stages with four teams battling it out for a place in the final. Galway will feature in the second of the two contests when they travel to Banagher to meet opponents Kildare for a 2pm throw-in on Sunday, while Kerry face Westmeath on Saturday.
Galway’s earlier encounter with Kildare in the league finished in a draw, and considering the Tribeswomen delayed their resumption to training by six weeks, to have reversed a six-point deficit and carved out the draw is a positive reflection of the team’s resolve.
“We were maybe a bit disappointed not to have got the win that day but we were a bit late getting back this year so we were happy with the girls’ response,” says Galway manager Barry Downey . “We’ve had a few challenge matches lately to help us make decisions in finalising the team for the game on Sunday and that’s been great. We want to stay in competitve mode for as long as we can because it’s the best way to prepare a team leading into the championship. It means that we’ll get more intense trainings and that’s crucial for us.”
Galway’s preparatory measures have been greatly strengthened by the assimilation of the u-21 panel into their trainings. 2013 marks the first year of this competition and Galway will be sending a panel of 27 (12 of whom are currently on the senior team ) into the tournament.
“It’s great to have the addition of the u-21s to ramp up the competitive edge at training. Both sets of players are trying to outdo one another and that can only be good for management in naming the team for the game against Kildare.”
Despite Kildare placing fourth in the table, Barry Downey is under no illusions about the size of the task facing them on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t read too much into the league table as Kildare were well worth the draw on the day, having scored a penalty in the final minute to even things up. It will be a good indicator of how much we have come on as a team from that first game and hopefully continue our unbeaten run.
“We haven’t sent out the same team twice in the league because we wanted to offer all girls an opportunity, so it’ll be a fairly new outfit lining out on Sunday.”