The Galway u-21 football panel will head down to Limerick this Saturday afternoon with the prime objective of collecting another All-Ireland at that grade for the county.
Galway face Cork at the Gaelic Grounds (7pm ) in what promises to be an intriguing and high-quality contest.
This is a Galway team that has really grown, improved, and flourished over the past few months. They go into this decider on the back of four good wins - over Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Kildare, and they hope to follow the example of the 2011 side and finish the season as champions.
Team manager Alan Flynn, who was a selector in 2011, and his back room team, have the team moving well and they are playing with plenty of style. They are also crucially mixing their footballing ability with plenty of work-rate and grit and, in their last three games, they have had to really dig in at key stages to get over the winning line.
They looked a beaten docket in the Connacht final against Roscommon near the end of normal time before grabbing a few late scores to tie the game and they really came good in extra time, cementing their self-belief. They were also under immense pressure in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kildare at times, but they did what had to be done and two key goals by Tomás Flynn and Seán Moran powered them through.
Flynn expects a big
battle from Cork
While Alan Flynn is obviously pleased with the progress and improvement that his side has shown since the start of the year, he believes this Saturday evening will need another step up in standard and intensity.
Cork are the Munster champions for the past three seasons and the experienced Tuam man knows his players will have to be ready for a really tough game against the Rebels.
"The mood is really positive in our camp. The lads know what they have to do and what we expect from them on Saturday. There is always scope to improve, and we believe that we can and will improve on our display against Kildare,” he says.
“ Cork are a very good and accomplished side. We know that. They are going to be very difficult opponents, but that is to be expected at this stage in the competition. Our lads have a lot of belief in themselves and they are looking forward to taking them on. No one can expect to win an All-Ireland easily and this weekend will be no different."
Flynn says Galway are going to Limerick to win, but they are focusing on getting the performance for that to happen.
“The middle quarter will be crucial and hopefully the likes of Fiontán Ó Curraoin, Tom Flynn, Sean Moran, Damien Comer, Cathal Mulryan and the other lads in the half-back and half-forward lines will win enough possession to keep the supply going into our forwards. Our work-rate and covering back will have to be top class, but we have spoken about that and we will be trying to make it happen on Saturday evening.
"Finals are there to be won, and that is our goal on Saturday. All the lads have worked very hard over the past few months and hopefully they will produce a really good display on Saturday and one of which they can be proud.”
Injury doubt over Daithí Burke
Galway trained at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Tuesday night and they are having a light run out tonight (Thursday ) in Loughgeorge. There is one major injury worry - key defender Daithí Burke tweaked a hamstring in the victory over Kildare.
Burke will be given every chance to recover and may be forced to do a late fitness test later in the week to see if he can play a role.
Different Galway players have come good throughout this campaign and Flynn and his selectors, Declan Meehan, Paul Clancy, Alan Mulholland and Donal Ó Faharta, have used a host of subs in all their wins.
For Galway to win they will need big displays defensively from the likes of the impressive full back James Shaughnessy, the highly-rated Tom Healy in goal, Mark Loughnane and Cortoon's Paul Varley.
Galway will look to team captain Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Tom Flynn who won All-Ireland medals at this grade in 2011 to show leadership and rally the troops around the middle.
Up front Galway have real game winners in the sublime Shane Walsh, Ian Burke, Séan Moran and the lively and selfless Adrian Varley at full-forward.
If Galway can get enough supply to those four men, they will do real damage on the Cork defence and Galway could be coming back up the motorway as All-Ireland champions.