Sice warns 'maturing' Tribesmen to expect serious backlash from Donegal
It has been some year so far for Gary Sice but the versatile Galway player is fearful of a Donegal backlash this weekend.
The 30-year-old has marked his return to the inter-county football scene this year with some stellar performances after guiding Corofin to the All-Ireland club title in March, and he is anxious that Galway's season extends beyond Saturday.
But Sice is expecting Donegal to be all fired-up after losing their Ulster title to Monaghan by just one point in a 0-11 to 0-10 defeat.
Sice knows how a wounded team can get their act together after inspiring Galway to get back on track following their Connacht semi-final loss to Mayo and good wins over Armagh and Derry sees them again face Ulster opposition as they bid to reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
"I have no doubt that there will be a backlash from Donegal against us," Sice says.
"People were giving them stick after the Ulster final but they only lost by a point.
"They had chances at the end of the game to draw or even win it and they had a lot of bad wides.
"The Donegal we face will be as good if not better than what they have been over the last few years.
"But it would be superb for Galway football to reach another quarter-final.
"We are looking for wins all the time and this weekend is another chance for us to go further," added the primary school teacher.
Galway beat Tipperary in the final round of qualifiers last year before Kerry got the better of them in the quarter-final. The Tribesmen have a poor record against Donegal in the championship in recent years.
In 2003, they lost to them in the quarter-final while in 2009 they also exited the qualifiers at their hands. But Sice says there is still much more to come from this young Galway side under the guidance of Kevin Walsh.
"It was nice to get two wins in the qualifiers. Now that we have that bit of momentum built up anything can happen.
"There is a good feeling around the place at the moment - everyone is enjoying their football and enjoying training. When it is like that it is a good place to be. I am really enjoying my football and I have been for the last 18 months or so.
"Kevin has allowed me to play football and has given me a great chance to express myself.
"The younger players in the squad are maturing and with that comes progression.
"A lot the younger guys are starting to push on and put big performances on the field.
"Their potential is starting to be fulfilled which is fantastic."