Hurlers face Leinster champions in league opener

The Galway hurlers get their 2014 league campaign up and running on Sunday when they face Dublin in Pearse Stadium (2pm ).

The last time the sides met was in Croke Park in July when Dublin gave Galway a good trimming - on a score-line of 2-25 to 2-13 - in the Leinster final.

The memory of that result, and home venue, should ensure Galway will be very keen to get two points on the board in this clash. And last weekend's good win in the inter provincial series (Connnacht/Galway 1-18 Munster 0-16 ) at Duggan Park should also mean there will be good spirit and a bit of momentum in the squad going into this clash.

Galway will be without the services of Niall Burke, who had key-hole surgery recently, and Cyril Donnellan, and it is still unclear if the Portumna players will be available for selection.

However, those absences will allow manager Anthony Cunningham to give added game time to some new players on the panel and continue with the search to try to find some new talent for the championship.

Turloughmore's Ronan Burke has been doing well at full-back and, if selected, it will be interesting to see how he does against Dublin's lively inside line. The same can be said of Padraig Brehony at midfield.

Likewise the experienced Iarla Tannian had an impressive game at number six last Sunday and he will probably be given a few more run-outs in that position to see if he is the man to fill that jersey for the coming year.

Galway - under the guise of Connacht - had a good run last weekend in Duggan Park and, while trailing by 0-10 to 0-6 at half time, they came out and blitzed their Munster colleagues 1-8 without reply in the third quarter.

Davy Glennon shot the goal and Conor Cooney was also in good scoring form with 11 points (0-3 from play ) from centre-forward.

The Galway team is not due to be selected until later in the week and there will be considerable interest to see who will be given starting jerseys. Even if the Portumna players, Damien Hayes, Andy Smith and Galway captain Joe Canning, are not available to start, it would be nice to see them on the panel and able to come on if required later in the joust.

Galway are 10/11 in the bookies to win, with Dublin at 11/10. The draw is 17/2.

Tickets for the game on Sunday can be bought online at the reduced price of €10 and are available to buy via Galwaygaa.ie

Connacht: J Skehill, F Moore, R Burke, J Coen, D Collins, I Tannian, G McInerney, David Burke, P Brehony; J Flynn, C Cooney, J Glynn; P Landers, C Mannion, D Glennon. Subs: A Harte for McInerney (h-t ), R Cummins for Landers (43 ), Daithi Burke for Tannian (54 ), K Hynes for Mannion (61 ), D Dolan for Glennon (65 ).

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