Championship action returns for Galway hurlers

Laois v Galway Sunday 4pm

Gort's Michael Mullins and Tommy Larkin's Gerard Kelly during the Senior Hurling Championship at Athenry.

Gort's Michael Mullins and Tommy Larkin's Gerard Kelly during the Senior Hurling Championship at Athenry.

This weekend the Galway hurlers put away their club colours after a hectic few weeks of domestic action, and don the maroon and white again when they take their 2014 championship bow on Sunday against Laois in the Leinster quarter-final at Portlaoise (4pm ).

Laois have qualified for this quarter-final by virtue of a round-robin series involving Antrim, Westmeath, Carlow, and London.

Last weekend they were defeated 0-22 to 0-20 by Antrim, who will face Wexford, also in Portlaoise (2pm ).

There are unlikely to be wholesale changes from the Galway side that was narrowly defeated by Kilkenny at the Gaelic Grounds in the league semi-final a few weeks ago.

Both Fergal Moore and Iarla Tannian were unavailable to play in that game due to injury, and it will be interesting to see if they are recalled to the starting line-up for this clash when management name the team tomorrow morning.

However, Galway will be without Niall Healy, who picked up a knee injury playing for Craughwell in their two-point championship win (0-12 to 0-10 ) over Turloughmore in Kenny Park last weekend.

Healy, who has been in terrific scoring form for both club and county, was stretchered off following a collision with fellow county player Daithí Burke. He was due to have a scan earlier in the week to determine the extent of the damage.

Galway also played Laois last season in the Leinster championship, winning their semi-final clash on a score-line of 2-17 to 1-13.

However, Galway did not have it all their own way in that tie, and they were behind by a point at half time.

It took some fine leadership from Joe Canning in the second half and goals by Davy Glennon and Aonghus Callanan to save any potential Galway blushes.

Laois have the distinct advantage this weekend of having played four championship games in the past few weeks compared to Galway who have been focusing on club action.

While Laois are likely to hit the ground running and in Willie Hyland, Stephen Maher and Matthew Whelan they have some good players, but anything except a win for Galway and a date in the Leinster semi-final on June 22 against either Kilkenny or Offaly would be a huge shock.

• The Galway Hurling Supporters’ Club is running a bus to the game next Sunday, leaving Ceannt Station at 11am, with pick-up points at Oranmore, Craughwell, Loughrea, Kilreekil and Ballinasloe at 12 noon.

To book a seat at a cost of €10 contact Joe Sherry 086-8249013.

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