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Galway captain Gary O Donnell.

Galway captain Gary O Donnell.

Gary O'Donnell: 'It is vital to be playing the top teams'

By Cian O'Connell

It has been an encouraging stint for Galway, who are delighted to have secured Division One status in the Allianz Football League.

The Tribesmen have played in Division Two since 2011 so that is why Sunday's hard earned win over Kildare mattered deeply.

Captain Gary O'Donnell, who has been an instrumental for Galway for much of the past decade admits it is 'vital' that Galway will operate in the top flight again.

“For Galway football, it definitely is vital to be playing all the top teams in the country," O'Donnell says.

"When we went down five or six years ago, we didn’t envisage staying in it (Division 2) this long, but we probably weren’t ready at the time to go up and the League never lies. We probably deserved to go up this year and hopefully we’ll be ready next year."

The inter-county return of Fiontan O'Curraoin, Micheal Lundy, and Sean Armstrong coupled with the emergence of Mountbellew-Moylough duo Michael Daly and Barry McHugh means there is a greater depth to the Galway panel.

“Training has upped big time year," O'Donnell states. "A lot of lads have come in and they’re really pushing for places and the quality of players that are already there not to mention the lads that are injured.

"Hopefully, if we can get over next weekend it will be a long summer as well."

O'Donnell now wants Galway to end their search for a Croke Park win on Sunday - a record which stretches back to the 2001 All Ireland SFC Final.

“I think another one (record) was that we hadn’t won three games in a row in a long time so that’s another monkey off the back," O'Donnell remarks. "Usually, when we get up to Croke Park we enjoy it although the last few times we haven’t got a result, but it’s great to get there so early. The main thing is we put in a performance."

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