Galway’s semi-final spot up for grabs as former boss comes to town

Conor Whelan of Galway during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B match between Antrim and Galway at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Conor Whelan of Galway during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B match between Antrim and Galway at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

With two rounds of the Allianz National League left to play, the Galway senior hurlers must win their remaining group games against both Dublin and Limerick to have any chance of qualifying for a coveted semi-final spot.

Micheál Donoghue’s Dublin side are first up this coming Sunday in Pearse Stadium at 1.30pm. The Clarinbridge native has returned to manage against his native county in Salthill for the very first time.

The stop-start nature of this year’s league campaign, with Galway having rest weeks following their games against both Tipperary and Antrim, has curtailed any sense of momentum. However, Henry Shefflin now has two contests to prepare for what should provide some indicators of whether Galway are progressing or regressing in 2024.

Dublin travel west on the back of a brutal hammering from Limerick in Croke Park. They will be looking to turn in their best performance of this league campaign against the Tribesmen. Their only win thus far against Antrim came from a fortuitous last minute goal, with the absence of Donal Burke, Eoghan O’Donnell, and Danny Sutcliffe through injury a contributing factor.

Dublin hurling appears now be in a state of transition, but whether the Galway native can make any sort of notable progress with the talent at his disposal remains to be seen.

In the home camp, the duel to claim the Galway goalkeeping position for the championship is currently being won by Ardrahan’s Darach Fahy. He now faces into two games where the consequences of defeat are more severe. Scrutiny of a goalkeeper’s work and effectiveness has never been as intense, but Fahy appears to be taking it all in his stride.

Fintan Burke was one of six St. Thomas’ men named on the Club All Stars team earlier this week alongside Gerald Kelly, Shane Cooney, David Burke, Conor Cooney, and Éanna Burke. The potential full-back will be looking to nail down his place in the starting fifteen with an assured performance.

There appears to be plenty of competition for places in all sectors of the field. Thus, Shefflin and his backroom team will be keenly monitoring performance levels this weekend ahead of a high-profile clash with the All-Ireland champions on St. Patrick’s Day.

Galway will be assured of a place in Division 1 next season with a win this weekend, and if the likes of Conor Whelan, Evan Niland, Jason Flynn, and Tom Monaghan can produce telling contributions, there is no reason to believe that a win should not come to fruition.

Elsewhere, Cullen Killeen was the hero for St. Raphael’s College, Loughrea as they defeated Nenagh CBS in the semi-final of the Croke Cup last weekend. Trailing by two in injury time, Killeen’s magnificent match-winning point capped an incredible turnaround.

Sarsfields’ Paddy Mac Carthaigh earned Man of the Match plaudits for his seven point haul for Franny Forde’s side, who now go on to face St. Kieran’s College of Kilkenny, appearing in their ninth consecutive final, in the decider in Croke Park.

 

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