Pain of last year's final can drive Galway -- Finn
Galway manager Noel Finn says the pain of last year's All-Ireland final defeat is the biggest motivational factor for his charges in their championship campaign.
Speaking ahead of Galway's second-round tie against Clare on Saturday, Finn acknowledged that last year's defeat to Wexford in the decider, plus their recent loss to the Model girls in the Division 1 League final, made a huge impact.
"Definitely the only thing in the minds of each player is making it back to Croke Park for the All-Ireland final -- last year's defeat hurt our side badly," he said.
"They were extremely disappointed and dejected with their performance and nothing bar an All-Ireland is going to remove that for them."
The Connacht side opened their championship campaign with an emphatic 2-14 to 0-9 win over champions Wexford at Enniscorthy last weekend.
Finn made substantial changes to the side, moving veteran forward Therese Maher from centre-forward to centre-back, while star forward Veronica Curtin had to make do with a place on the bench, along with All Star corner-back Regina Glynn.
Eimear Haverty, Heather Cooney, Lorraine Ryan and Therese Manton all made their full senior championship debuts.
"There is competition for places, and we need that in order to drive on. We need to have more options all over the pitch and no player is assured of their spot," said Finn.
Meanwhile, Wexford manager JJ Doyle is anxious that his side return to winning ways when they face a resurgent Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday.
"Against Galway, we did not get going at all. Nothing went right for us and we are aiming to get our campaign back on track," he said.
"It is vital that the players react in a positive manner this weekend."
The low scoring rate of his side in last week's tie -- they could only register 0-9, with just one score from play -- is a source of worry to Doyle.
"Certainly the scoreline and only one point from play is an issue," he said.
"But we have Saturday's match to try and get things right and to recover from last week's defeat as a team and that is what we intend to do."