Galway look to Munster champions to provide their first serious test

GALWAY selector Stephen Joyce has an odd complaint ahead of this afternoon’s All-Ireland U21FC semi-final meeting with Cork at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick (3.45pm).

“We haven’t been tested, and we don’t know how good the team really is,” said Joyce of the Connacht champions.

“Sligo gave us a bit of a game for half a hour in the Connacht semi-final but Mayo were hopeless in the final which was very surprising because they had seven players who figured in last year’s All-Ireland final against Armagh.”

So what does he make of today’s semi-final opponents?

“I watched Cork in the Munster final against Limerick and was impressed, particularly with their forwards. Any team that beats Kerry in the championship has to be respected.

“It’s important to be winning this particular grade of championship. It keeps the interest going among football followers in the county, and more importantly it’s a feeder for the senior team.”

Cork have made one change from the side that won the Munster title, with Donal Óg O’Donovan recovered from injury and back in the troublesome full back position.

Good news for coach Tony Leahy. “When you reach this stage of a championship, you make the minimum of changes if any,” he admitted.

“You have to show trust in your players. If you don’t, their confidence will drain away and that could be fatal.”

Leahy admits that his side are desperate to make amends for last year’s tame outing from the championship.

“After last year’s disappointment at losing the way we did to eventual champions Armagh, there was a fierce determination among the entire Cork party to make amends.

“With no disrespect to either Clare or Limerick, after we beat Kerry we had our sights firmly set on the All-Ireland semi-final and thankfully we have made it this far.

“We’ll have to put the shackles on Michael Meehan and Sean Armstrong if we are to have any chance, but I have the utmost confidence in our team, and if we can get an even break at midfield, we have the forwards to win it for us.”

They may also be helped by the news that Forde and his management staff must carry out late fitness tests on two stars, towering midfielder Barry Cullinane and Damien Dunleavy.

Meanwhile Dublin have made two changes ahead of their semi-final meeting with Down at Páirc Tailteann, Navan (3.30pm).

With Willie Lowry suspended following his second-half red card in the Leinster final replay victory last Sunday, his St Vincent’s club-mate Ronan Fallon is named at full-back.

Fallon did not start last Sunday in Croke Park as he had been in action with the Dublin senior hurlers the previous afternoon in Belfast against Antrim.

In attack Ger O’Meara, Dublin’s other senior hurler, returns at wing-forward, with Chris Moore losing out.

Down have made one change for the trip to Meath. James Colgan comes in for Gareth Dobbin from the side that defeated Cavan 1-11 to 2-8 in an extra-time thriller to lift the Ulster title.


CORK: K O’Halloran; A Tanner, D Óg O’Donovan, F Tobin; D Limrick, D Cunningham, E Cadogan; A O’Connor, P Kelly; F Gould, J Hayes, P Kerrigan; D Goulding, P O’Flynn, M Murphy.

DOWN: D Alder; E Henry, M Rooney, N McEvoy; D Neeson, J Colgan, D Cunningham; A Rogers, M McClean, C Laverty; A Carr, N McArdle; M Poland, J McGovern, J Brown.

DUBLIN: M Savage; A Downes, R Fallon, D McCann; N Cooper, B Cullen, I Ward; E Fennell, B Phelan; G O’Meara, D Dineen, K Leahy; J O’Brien, M Davoren, B Brogan.

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