Galway have been handed a massive boost in their preparations for their huge All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Tipperary in just over a week.
Three of their key players have been cleared to rejoin full training with the panel ahead of the Croke Park clash against the defending All-Ireland champions on August 6. They come in the shape of Joe Canning, Daithí Burke and Cathal Mannion.
Canning had been hampered by a knee problem in recent weeks which he sustained in training the week of the Leinster final triumph over Wexford. Although he soldiered on to play through the pain against Davy Fitzgerald’s side, notching ten points on his way to victory, the issue forced the Portumna talisman out of a club championship game against St. Thomas’ a fortnight ago.
Galway coach Francis Forde has confirmed that the three-time All Star received an anti-inflammatory injection into the troublesome knee and he has now rested and recuperated it sufficiently, which has put waste to any concerns that Joe may be unfit to face The Premier County.
“Joe just needed a bit of time. It was a case that longer you left it the better it was for him long term. He is back on the field now.
“What have we left, 12 days? We’ll build it back up this week.
“It was minor enough, but the timing was the big thing. Getting him back on the field was the big thing for us,” Forde said. (Quotes via The42.ie.)
Meanwhile, fellow potent attacker, Cathal Mannion has recovered from the ankle injury which sidelined him for the provincial decider against The Model County in enough time to partake in training and be considered for selection for the showdown with Michael Ryan’s charges.
Daithí Burke, who has been in top class form all year for the Tribesmen at full-back, has overcome a bout of tonsillitis and will be available for the All-Ireland semi-final also.
These will come as three welcome boosts to Micheál Donoghue’s camp as the race for Liam heats up, along with the news that the strong and powerful Johnny Glynn has returned to the fray to further bolster the attacking options at the disposal of the Galway management. With just four teams remaining in the hunt, the Westerners are favourites to clinch their first All-Ireland title since 1988.
For the third year in a row, if Galway are to reach the third Sunday of September, they must overcome Tipperary. The 2015 and 2016 legs of this trilogy have gone to both the Tribesmen and The Premier respectively, leaving the score at one apiece. On both occasions, just a single point separated the teams at the final whistle.
Whatever the outcome of Sunday week’s clash may be, everything is shaping up nicely for it to be another rip roaring contest between these two hurling giants.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of our weekly GAA podcast, The 16th Man. We hear from a passionate Davy Fitzgerald in the wake of Wexford’s loss to Tipperary and John Leah on where Tipp are at heading into the semi-final.