Damien Comer will start his first game for Galway since the 2018 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin when he lines out against Kerry in Tralee on Saturday evening.
The Annaghdown clubman missed out on most of last year after picking up a troublesome ankle injury in a charity soccer match on St Stephen’s Day in 2018, although he returned in time to come off the bench in the All-Ireland qualifier loss to Mayo in Limerick last July.
He has since made a full recovery and came on as a sub in the 1-14 to 0-16 win over Monaghan last Sunday, but Saturday’s appearance in Tralee will be his first start since the 1-24 to 2-12 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin almost a year and a half ago.
Comer’s inclusion is one of three chances with Ronan Steede, man of the match in Corofin’s All-Ireland club final win, poised for his first start, almost three years after making his debut off the bench in the league.
Eamonn Brannigan, who came on against Monaghan on Sunday, starts at wing-forward with Michael Boyle, Paul Conroy and Adrian Varley the players to make way.
Galway have won on two of their last three visits to Tralee but manager Pádraic Joyce knows they will face a huge task against the Munster champions.
It’s brilliant that the games coming thick and fast. Kerry requested some weeks ago that we switch that match to Saturday night and it’s great for our lads to get a game under lights in Tralee.
“It’s tough, they are probably the top two teams in the country, themselves and Dublin, so we will learn a lot going down there.
"Our lads will get their bodies right during the week and we will hit that hard on Saturday night,” said Joyce.
An indication of just how much the Galway squad has changed in recent times is illustrated by the fact that just four players selected for Saturday night — Johnny Heaney, Shane Walsh, Brannigan and Comer —started two years ago in Tralee when the Tribesmen won by 1-14 to 0-14 in February 2018.
C Gleeson; J Duane, S Mulkerrin, J Heaney; G O’Donnell, J Daly, C McDaid; R Steede, C D’Arcy; E Brannigan, D Comer, F Ó Laoi; R Finnerty, S Walsh, M Daly.