Short straw for footballersOctober 9, 2012 - 7:00am
THERE were mixed fortunes for Galway’s senior hurlers and footballers when they received very different draws for their respective 2013 provincial championships last week.
Galway footballers must meet old rivals Mayo in their first Connacht championship outing next year while the county’s hurlers have emerged on the easier side of the Leinster championship draw after being pitted against one of the lower seeded teams.
The reigning Leinster champions will spar with the winner of the Antrim, Carlow, Laois, London and Westmeath series of preliminary fixtures in their semi-final – so avoiding All-Ireland champions Kilkenny, who must face Offaly in their provincial quarter-final. The winner will play the victor of the Wexford v Dublin clash in the other ‘semi’.
According to Galway hurling boss Anthony Cunningham, he expects next year will present fresh challenges for his squad of players and he will be taking nothing for granted. “The pressure is on everyone in the camp to increase and raise the level for next year.
“Obviously, when we didn’t win [the All-Ireland] we will have to increase our effort and our play and our level of performance. No matter what draw comes out, you have to make those your priority.
“I suppose, the expectation is there now – and we will have to deal with that – but we will be back to work again with our Winter programme soon. We will be taking everything seriously once again and we will be going out to win every match in 2013. This is a team that wants to win, ultimately, so we have to approach it that way.”
Although eventually defeated in the All-Ireland final replay by Kilkenny last month, Galway’s fine run in the senior hurling championship has been rewarded with the county receiving no less than 14 GAA GPA All-Star nominations.
They are James Skehill (Goalkeeper), Fergal Moore, Kevin Hynes and Johnny Coen (Full Back Line), David Collins, Tony Óg Regan and Niall Donoghue (Half Back Line), Andy Smith and Iarla Tannian (Midfield), Cyril Donnellan, Niall Burke and Damien Hayes (Half Forward Line) and Joe Canning and David Burke (Full Forward Line).
In addition, Canning has also been nominated alongside Kilkenny duo Henry Shefflin and Paul Murphy for Hurler of the Year while Coen and Niall Burke have been nominated along with Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe for Young Hurler of the Year.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.