SHQ: Galway v Clare preview

After giving Tipperary the fright of their lives, Clare will be looking to blaze a trail into Galway when they meet in Pearse Stadium on Saturday (7PM).

The Tribesmen will be licking their wounds after limping out of the Leinster championship. Manager John McIntyre has reacted the 0-19 to 2-9 defeat to Dublin by making five changes to the team.

Cyrill Donellan is amongst the quintet after the forward failed to shake off a toe injury. However, the big call from McIntyre was to drop his captain, Damien Joyce, from the starting fifteen. In his absence, Damien Hayes will take over leadership responsibilities and David Collins will fill the void left at corner back.

Barry Daly, Éanna Ryan and Aonghus Callinan are the others to be relegated to the bench as McIntyre welcomes back the star duo of Ger Farragher and Iarla Tannian.

Also brought back into the fold are veteran Alan Kerins (corner forward,) Donal Barry (half back) and midfielder Andy Smith.

Clare must avoid being affected by the sad news of their former manager, Ger Loughnane, being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Loughnane is rightly a cult figure in Clare after leading the Banner to the Liam McCarthy Cup in 1995, a win which ended an 81 year wait for the crown. Manager Ger O’Loughlin has again delayed naming his team for the showdown but is likely to make just one enforced change from the side which exited the Munster Championship.

Full forward Darach Honan has not recovered from a groin injury so his jersey will be filled by his Clonlara club mate, Cormac O’Donnell. Conor McGrath who notched up 1-6 in his championship debut against the holders will continue at corner forward.

It was 2009 when these sides last crossed swords in Championship action. On that day Galway sailed to a 2-18 to 1-11 victory and bookmakers fancy a repeat tomorrow night.

At half time in that famous ’95 final against Offaly, Ger Loughnane confidently looked down the lense of the camera and proclaimed that: “We’re going to do it!” His county will need all of that steely confidence if they are to topple this creaking Galway side.

GALWAY:  J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Collins; D Barry, T Óg Regan, A Cullinane; D Burke, A Smith; J Gantley, G Farragher, I Tannian; D Hayes, J Canning, A Kerins.

Clare (probable): P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Cooney, C Dillon; P O’Connor, J McInerney, P Donnellan; N O’Connell, J Clancy; J Conlon, F lynch, C McInerney; D McMahon, C O’Donnell, C McGrath.


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