Healy brothers aiming to lead Craughwell's charge
Published 07/11/2015 | 02:30
Craughwell bid to bridge an 85-year gap when they face Sarsfields in a novel Galway SHC final at Kenny Park.
With the emergence of four-time All-Ireland winners Portumna in recent years, both sides have been cast in the shadows as St Thomas' and Clarinbridge also brought top honours back to the west.
But both caused seismic semi-final shocks despite containing just one member each of this year's Galway senior squad in Niall Healy and Joseph Cooney.
Craughwell were one-point victors over 2013 All-Ireland champions St Thomas' with Healy scoring the only goal of the game. He also showed deadly accuracy from frees, finishing with 1-11 to add to the 0-12 in their quarter-final defeat of Liam Mellows.
In 2005, he lined out alongside his older brother Fergal in an All-Ireland final for Galway and now 10 years later, they play a first senior club final together.
Stephen Glennon has assembled a well-balanced side with another former county man Adrian Cullinane starring at centre-back but they face stiff resistance.
This is Sarsfields' first final appearance since 2002 but they are a club steeped in heritage. They were the dream club team of the 1990s, being the first Galway club to win back-to-back All-Ireland titles in '93 and '94.
Joe Cooney was their leader and the current side is captained by Joe's son Joseph, who was inspirational in their victories over reigning champions Gort and Padraig Pearses.
Cathal Murray's charges haven't conceded a goal in 120 minutes of knockout hurling as they execute a compact, defensive game-plan hoping to end an 18-year barren spell.
Kevin Hynes, full-back in the 2012 All-Ireland loss to Kilkenny, is a key player along with free-taker Niall Morrissey while former Galway attacker Kerril Wade features in attack.
Injury has dealt a cruel blow to Sarsfields, however, with key midfielder Thomas Spellman absent through a cruciate injury suffered in their semi-final win.
Neither team were expected to be in this position at the start of the year and it sets up an intriguing final.
Galway SHC final
Craughwell v Sarsfields,