Galway boosted by Canning's return


GAELIC GAMES:OFFALY DON’T have much history with Galway in the Leinster hurling championship but enough to provide all the motivation they need going into Sunday’s semi-final in Portlaoise.

Manager Ollie Baker has named an unchanged team from that which beat Wexford in the quarter-final back on June 2nd, and although in his first season in charge, won’t need much reminding of how close Offaly came to beating Galway in their only other meeting in Leinster, in 2010, when Galway eventually prevailed 3-17 to 2-18 after a replay.

Belmont’s David Kenny again captains the Offaly team from full back, as they look to qualify for a Leinster final for the first time since 2004.

Outside of Leinster, they last met Galway in the 1994 All-Ireland semi-final, which Offaly won 2-13 to Galway’s 1-10.

Galway will welcome back Joe Canning and David Collins, who both missed the goal-fest win over Westmeath with shoulder and ankle injuries respectively, and goalkeeper James Skehill is also back in contention after recovering from a dislocated shoulder he sustained against Waterford back in March.

Waterford manager Michael Ryan gets some good news too with the return of Eoin Kelly, Noel Connors and former captain Stephen Molumphy for their Munster hurling semi-final against Clare in Thurles on Sunday.

Kelly has recovered from the hand injury picked up in a club game last month, and defender Connors has overcome a back problem. Molumphy has also recovered from a shoulder injury.

Still missing, however is forward Pauric Mahony, who underwent groin surgery last month, while Shane O’Sullivan and David O’Sullivan opted to spend the summer in the US. Ryan is due to announce his starting 15 after training this evening:

In football, Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney has made just one enforced change from the side that defeated Tyrone in the Division Two final at the end of April for Sunday’s Leinster quarter-final against Offaly.

Andrew McLoughlin comes into the defence in place of Eamonn Callaghan, who recently underwent groin surgery and is set to be sidelined for eight weeks.

Concerns over John Doyle and Ollie Lyons (both quad muscles) have lifted. It means there is no place in the starting 15 for Padraig Fogarty, who scored three points after coming off the bench against Tyrone.

Offaly manager Tom Coffey has named four championship newcomers in his side – John Moloney at full back, Michael Brazil at centre half back, Eoin Rigney at left half back and dual player Daniel Currams at centre half forward.

There are two debutants in the Derry side to face Donegal in the Ulster quarter-final. John McCamley and Eugene Scullion make their first starts as team captain Paddy Bradley makes his 50th championship appearance.

OFFALY (SH v Galway): J Dempsey; D Morka, D Kenny, D Franks; D Horan, R Hanniffy, J Rigney; C Mahon, K Brady; J Bergin, C Egan, B Murphy; S Dooley, C Parlon, B Carroll.

KILDARE (SF v Offaly): S Connolly; A McLoughlin, H McGrillen, P Kelly; E Bolton, M OFlaherty, O Lyons; M Foley, P ONeill; J Doyle, E OFlaherty, A Smith; J Kavanagh, T OConnor, M Conway.

OFFALY (SF v Kildare): A Mulhall; S Sullivan, J Moloney, S Pender; B Darby, M Brazil, E Rigney; A McNamee, R Dalton; R Brady, D Currams, N Smith; K Casey, G Guilfoyle, A Sullivan.

DERRY (SF v Donegal): B Gillis, J McCamley, C McKaigue, S McGoldrick; B McGoldrick, M Craig, E Scullion; J Diver, M Friel; G O’Kane, M Lynch, E Lynn; C Gilligan, P Bradley, E McGuckian.