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The nation - or at least the 16 counties that were in the hat anyway - waited with bated breath for last Monday's qualifier draw.
Padraic Joyce and his Galway u20 team began their season with a comfortable 1-18 to 0-10 point victory over Kildare in their opening game of the John Kerins cup which was held in Pearse Park, Longford.
After a difficult first-half for the away side, Galway began to open up in the second half with two quick-fire goals that their dominance deserved. These goals, followed by a last-minute strike by debutant Martin Farragher, gave Galway a 13-point win over Sligo in Sunday's Connacht Senior Football Championship semi-final in Markievicz Park.
"Disappointed men and some tears" was the natural response in the immediate aftermath of Connacht's 21-13 loss to Ulster in this season's Guinness PRO14 quarter-final, but the club can reflect on more positives, none more so than achieving its primary aim of qualifying for Champions Cup rugby for only the second time on merit.
Galway go in search of their first national league title when they face Cork in Sunday's decider at Parnell Park (4pm).
It was misery all round for Mayo GAA as our senior men and ladies suffered a double defeat for the second week in a row.
Galway will want to continue their recent form over Mayo on Saturday evening, having not lost to their old rivals in the last six matches.
Mayo sit proudly on the top of division one of the National Football League after a comprehensive round two away win to Tyrone in Healy Park Omagh. Mayo and Kerry are now the only two unbeaten teams in the division.
BUCCANEERS 20 OLD BELVEDERE 12
It should not come as any surprise to see the success of this St Thomas’ side. All the way, much of this group played together and won together at underage.