Following next Sunday’s FBD final against Roscommon (at 2pm in Tuam Stadium ), the Galway footballers will embark on a rather difficult National Football League division two campaign.
Galway supporters will be a tad disappointed that for the second year in a row Kevin Walsh’s team will have to travel for four of their seven fixtures. And with five Ulster teams in the division, Tyrone, Derry, Armagh, Fermanagh and Cavan – making it like a mini-Ulster championship - points will be hard to come by.
A really key game for the squad in the context of the overall league will be against Laois on Sunday week.
The O'Moore men, who are under new management this season, have become a bit of a bogey team for Galway over the past few years and the Galway squad will be keen to get one over on the Leinster men.
An opening day victory would be terrific for squad morale and would set the team up nicely for a big performance seven days later at Pearse Stadium against Mickey Harte’s Tyrone, who reached the All-Ireland semi-final last season before going out narrowly to Kerry.
Hopefully the management team will have a few new options for the 2016 league panel after the FBD League, where players such as Eamon Brannigan, Johnny Heaney and David Wynne have caught the eye.
Unfortunately a few other young players, who would have a lot to offer the county squad over the next few months and seasons, have declined the invitation to join the panel for the FBD and the upcoming league.
Galway are not alone in that regard and it is a concern for many counties that players are not prepared to commit to intercounty football. It is something the GAA needs to be mindful of over the coming years.
Galway’s 2016 National Football League Programme
Rd 1: Laois (away ) – Sunday 31 Jan: (O’ Moore Park )
Rd 2: Tyrone (home ) – Sunday 7 Feb: (Pearse Stadium )
Rd 3: Derry (away ) – Sunday 28 Feb: (Celtic Park )
Rd 4: Meath (home ) – Sunday 6 March: (Pearse Stadium )
Rd 5: Armagh (away ) – Sunday 13 March: (Armagh )
Rd 6: Fermanagh (home ) – Sunday 27 March: (Tuam Stadium )
Rd 7: Cavan (away ) – Sunday 3 April: (Breffni Park )