Galway overwhelming favourites to seal place in the Leinster final

Jason Flynn will be hoping to celebrate again, having scored his side's first goal against  Dublin in Tullamore.

Jason Flynn will be hoping to celebrate again, having scored his side's first goal against Dublin in Tullamore.

Galway senior hurlers take on Kevin Ryan's Offaly in the Leinster semi-final in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, on Sunday (2pm ).

The prize at stake for the winners is a juicy one - a Leinster final clash against Wexford on July 2 in Croke Park.

Galway are overwhelming 1/100 favourites to beat an Offaly side that struggled to defeat Westmeath the last day out by 4-15 to 1-20.

It took a few late scores from centre-forward Shane Dooley to put some day light between the sides in the last few minutes and Offaly are 12/1 outsiders to pull off a huge shock in three days.

Galway will have to plan the rest of their championship without the unfortunate Paul Killeen who suffered cruciate damage against Dublin, while Cyril Donnellan, who went off in the club championship playing for Pearses, is also unavailable.

Team selector Frannie Forde knows Galway travel to Portlaoise with considerable expectation, but he says the players and management team are not listening to loose talk but are only focusing on what is going on inside their own group.

"We have a very experienced panel and they know that they have a job to do on Sunday. We expect the lads to be very professional and produce a good strong performance to get us out of Portlaoise with a win," Forde says.

"It is mid-June now and it is a good time to be going up a gear or two as regards how we are performing.

"The winners this Sunday have the added incentive of not having to go through the qualifiers to get to an All-Ireland quarter-final or semi-final, and we are targeting an improved display from that against Dublin. All we can do is focus on what we need to do ourselves, and if we do that, we should be in good shape on Sunday afternoon."

The Turloughmore man is still disappointed about the injury to Paul Killeen against Dublin, saying he had been in super form and had worked tremendously hard to get into condition.

"Paul is a top man. He is a great guy and one of the leaders on the squad. His injury is very unfortunate for him personally and he is a big loss to us. He had worked really hard to get into super shape and it is very disappointing that he will miss the rest of the season."

Offaly a much changed team

Offaly is a much changed side from 2016 with three debutants in the starting team that defeated Westmeath and only five who played against them in 2016 still starting a year later.

Manager Kevin Ryan has decided to give youth its fling and there will be a good few players in action on Sunday that Galway supporters will not have seen before.

The faithful county will be looking for big displays up front from Dooley at centre-forward and Oisín Kelly at full-forward and Shane Kinsella.

At the back players such as Sean Ryan, Ben Connelly, Dermot Shortt and full-back Conor Doughan will be hoping to try to rein in Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Jason Flynn and Cathal Mannion, which will not be easy if the Galway forwards receive regular supply.

The handicap score on the game is Galway -17 and Offaly +17 which is all you need to know about people's expectations.

Galway should advance easily, and hopefully they will do so without any injuries, and without any players handed an early shower by Johnny Ryan, the man in the middle.


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