Galway have tonight named their team for Sunday’s Connacht final, with their starting fifteen showing two changes from the side that defeated Sligo in the semi-final a few weeks back. Here’s their selection for the McHale Park provincial decider:
Galway (Connacht SFC final v Mayo, 13/7/2014): Manus Breathnach (An Spideal); Donal O’Neill (Cortoon Shamrocks), Finian Hanley (Salthill-Knocknacarra), Joss Moore (Mountbellew-Moylough); Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen), Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars), Paul Varley (Cortoon Shamrocks); Fiontain O Curraoin (Micheal Breathnach), Tom Flynn (Athenry); Michael Lundy (Corofin), Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin-Clonberne), Damien Comer (Annaghdown); Paul Conroy (St James’s), Eddie Hoare (St Michael’s), Danny Cummins (Claregalway).
The two changes the Tribesmen have made from the Sligo match see Joss Moore and team captain Paul Conroy coming in for Aonghus Tierney and Michael Martin. These minor alterations in playing personnel contrast greatly with the size of the changes to the team since Salthill last year. Only six of Sunday’s team – Manus Breathnach, Gareth Bradshaw (who was one of two Galway players red carded that day), Fiontain O Curraoin, Tom Flynn, Paul Conroy and Danny Cummins – also lined out in Pearse Stadium last May.
We last played Galway in a Connacht final back in 2009 and only three of their team for Sunday – Finian Hanley, Gareth Bradshaw and Paul Conroy – also started for them that day in Pearse Stadium. We’ve six survivors, by the way, from that day – Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins, Andy Moran (then left half-back), Alan Dillon, Barry Moran and Aidan O’Shea.
The last time we played the Herrin Chokers in a Connacht final at MacHale Park was the previous year and only Bradshaw and Hanley remain on their starting fifteen since then, although their current captain Paul Conroy came off the bench for them that day to score a vital late point on the way to a one-point win. That, of course, was their most recent Nestor Cup success. We have four survivors from the team that started that 2008 decider – Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle, Alan Dillon and Andy Moran.