Footballers should have enough to lower the Banner on Sunday

Having attended college for five years with plenty of lads from Clare, and having played a few Sigerson and Collingwood cups with a blast of them too with UL, I know one thing for certain, they are sound men. And hard men to beat.

They are a proud tribe, and whether it is Clare hurlers or Clare footballers, they do not like to bend the knee for any man, or team.

No doubt Colm Collins, their senior football manager, will have his panel well revved up to take the fight to Kevin Walsh's men this Sunday in Pearse Stadium (2pm ) in a crucial game for both sides.

The Banner men are going well, having drawn with Derry away, and defeated Down by 2-11 to 0-11 in their two league games to date, and they are yet to concede a goal in 140 minutes of league action.

Their goal scorers against Down were centre forward Keelan Sexton and the experienced David Tubridy, who usually lines out at 14.

They have some good quality players such as forward Eoin Cleary, full back Kevin Harnett, centre-back Gordon Kelly, and team captain and midfielder Gary Brennan, who was nominated for an All-Star in 2016.

It will be interesting to see if Brennan plays this Sunday as he is on the Ballyea hurling team that is in the All-Ireland club final on St Patrick's Day.

Neither of his Ballyea club teammates, Tony Kelly or Jack Browne, togged with the county hurlers last weekend against Kilkenny, so it will intriguing to see if Brennan lines out for the footballers.

He is already being "minded" by his management team as he was the first Clare man substituted against Down after only 44 minutes, so perhaps he will start on Sunday and see how the game goes.

Galway to pick up

Regardless of who lines out for Clare, Galway have the wherewithall to beat them if they show up with intent and intensity, and reproduce the type of performance they hit Fermanagh with in the second half in Brewster Park.

Kevin Walsh's hand will also be strengthened this weekend, especially with his options off the bench, by the return of the Corofin contingent.

It is unlikely the Galway management team will make many changes, barring injuries, from the team that collected the two points two weeks ago.

However, having genuine options with Gary Sice, Micheal Lundy, Michael Farragher and Liam Silke back on the squad is a plus.

Injuries are an ongoing issue for any panel, and with the next few rounds of the league coming along fast - five games in six weeks - it is great to have as many players available as possible, and have cover for most positions.

This Clare panel beat Roscommon well in last year's championship in Pearse Stadium, and were division three champions after beating Kildare in that final, so they will have no fear of travelling up the road on Sunday morning to take on Galway.

That said, if the likes of Galway midfielders Paul Conroy and Fiontán Ó Curraoin, team captain Gary O'Donnell and Johnny Heaney in the half-back line, and Damien Comer, young Michael Daly and Barry McHugh up front, can really set a good tempo from the outset - and a few boys come off the bench in the second half - then Galway should be good enough to get a win this weekend.

If this bunch of Galway players want passionately to return to division one in 2018, then the leaders on the squad need to say what has to be said, and do what has to be done on Sunday, to ensure they have five points on the board next Monday morning.


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