Four championship newcomers for Galway

Galway manager Tomás Ó Flatharta has finalised his team for Sunday's Connacht SFC semi-final against Mayo in Castlebar (throw-in 2pm).

Galway manager Tomás Ó Flatharta has finalised his team for Sunday's Connacht SFC semi-final against Mayo in Castlebar (throw-in 2pm).

There are four Championship debutants in the starting line-up - Colin Forde and Johnny Duane in the full-back line, centre-back Greg Higgins and centre-forward Mark Hehir.

Hehir from Milltown has been brought into an attacking unit that is missing Sean Armstrong, who tore his hamstring last week, and Michael Meehan, who underwent ankle surgery last November. Meehan returned to training in recent weeks and it remains to be seen whether he will risked as a substitute.

Ó Flatharta has admitted that the Galway Under-21s' All-Ireland success last month has 'lifted' the senior set-up. Hehir top-scored with 0-7 and was the man-of-the-match in the westerners' 2-16 to 1-9 final win over Cavan at Croke Park.

It has been 12 weeks since Galway's relegation from Allianz Football League Division 1 and they are the last county into Championship action this summer.

During the league campaign, Galway suffered an eight-point defeat to Mayo in Tuam. Of this weekend's team, there are only seven survivors from the side that started that day, including midfielders Joe Bergin and Finian Hanley and corner forward Cormac Bane.

The 34-year-old Padraic Joyce remains a central figure for the Tribesmen and a link back to the All-Ireland title-winning sides of 1998 and 2001.

Pleased with his side's build-up, Ó Flatharta said: "These games can go any way and it is the team that prepares the best, has the right attitude going into the game and is willing to work the hardest that usually comes out on top in these derby games.

"It's my first year working in Galway. It is great working with this group of lads. They are so committed. They have given everything you could wish for in the last number of months.

"While I have been with them I have been very impressed with their attitude and their work ethic and their preparation and the way they go about it.

"I'm delighted that I am working with such a great group of lads. Training has been going well and we're looking forward to giving it our all in Castlebar."

GALWAY (SFC v Mayo): Adrian Faherty; Alan Burke, Colin Forde, Johnny Duane; Gary O'Donnell, Greg Higgins, Gary Sice; Joe Bergin, Finian Hanley; Owen Concannon, Mark Hehir, Garreth Bradshaw; Padraic Joyce, Paul Conroy, Cormac Bane.

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