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Galway Under 21 captain Michael Daly.
Galway Under 21 captain Michael Daly.

Michael Daly: 'Galway football is on a high'


By Cian O'Connell

Suddenly Galway football seems full of possibilities again. The Connacht Senior Championship win in 2016 has been followed by a productive spring.

An Allianz Football League Division Two title and EirGrid Connacht Under 21 glory ensure hopes are high in the west presently.

It is an exciting and promising time Corribside. “Ah yeah, it is, I think Galway football is on a bit of a high at the moment,” Under 21 captain Michael Daly admits.

“The teams are doing well, we are just happy for the seniors to get back to the top table, to play the best teams in Ireland. Hopefully we can continue the high in Galway football with the Under 21s.”

Daly occupied a central part in Galway’s promotion to the top tier and also made a significant impact as a substitute in the Division Two decider against Kildare at Croke Park.

With the issue delicately poised the Mountbellew-Moylough youngster announced his arrival by drilling over two immaculate points.

From an early age Daly has dealt with the heavy weight of expectation with club, school, and county teams and is now merely looking forward to Saturday’s encounter against Dublin at O’Connor Park, Tullamore.

“It is brilliant, we were happy to get through Connacht,” Daly says. “It was nice to win a Connacht title, we are just looking forward to the next day.

“We know that Dublin are going to be a good challenge, we know we are going to have to be at the top of our game to beat them. We are just looking forward to it now.”

Michael Daly celebrates with Sean Armstrong following the Allianz Football League Division Two Final win over Kildare at Croke Park.
Michael Daly celebrates with Sean Armstrong following the Allianz Football League Division Two Final win over Kildare at Croke Park.

Last year Galway suffered a narrow defeat to Roscommon in the Connacht Championship, but they have been a team on a real mission throughout the current campaign.

“Yeah, I suppose we knew it wasn't going to be easy to win the Connacht Championship,” Daly remarks. “We had three tough games, Leitrim, Mayo, and Sligo all gave us tough games, we had to come through tough moments in them games. Leitrim made a big comeback on us and it wasn't looking great for a while in Tuam, but we got through it.”

A well organised Sligo outfit caused Galway some bother in a thrilling provincial showpiece also. “We seem to be getting stronger every time, we were eight points down against Sligo in the first half, it didn't look good, but we battled through that. We won that game and we are happy to just be still alive, to be in an All Ireland Final.”

One of the chief reasons Daly reckons Galway are progressing is because of the depth of the maroon and white panel. “Yeah, it is a brilliant squad,” Daly states. “We have maybe 35 lads on the panel that can play on any day, I don't think we started the same team in two games in a row.

“The likes of Cein D'arcy, Sean Kelly, and Eoin Finnerty started against Kerry, whereas they didn't start the Connacht Final. They were probably all down for man of the match against Kerry which is a sign of the strength in depth in the panel.”

Dessie Farrell’s highly regarded Dublin are next on the agenda for Galway with Daly adamant that another stern test awaits.

“Yeah, it is, we watched the Dublin and Donegal game back, they were set-up well defensively. They seemed to be very hard to score against so we know we are going to be up against a good team, we are just looking forward to performing on the day.”

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