Tribesmen get massive boost with Canning set to return
Galway hurlers will be without free-taking ace Ger Farragher for Sunday's must-win clash with Waterford, but are expected to produce the perfect replacement with the long-awaited return to action of Joe Canning.
Manager John McIntyre said yesterday that the availability of several returning players -- Canning, Damien Hayes, Kevin Hynes and Aidan Harte -- next weekend will depend on their performances in training this week.
But his description of them as "all getting close" indicates that Canning's return is imminent and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Portumna superstar has missed out all of the Allianz League to date with a heel injury.
The defending champions, joint-second with Dublin, are one point adrift of leaders Kilkenny and need to beat Waterford in Walsh Park to reach their third Division 1 final in four years.
Midfielder Farragher damaged his knee last time out against Tipperary and needs to rest. Centre-forward Andy Smith is also out after breaking his nose in the same game, and Galway's hopes of getting Fergal Moore back have also been hit as he has had to have "some cleaning on scar tissue on his ankle", according to McIntyre.
Galway's injuries from the Tipp game were not just physical as they suffered an unexpected 4-23 to 1-14 mauling on their home turf from the All-Ireland champions.
Over a week later, McIntyre is still describing that as "a massive reality check for everyone involved in this Galway team."
"Even allowing for Tipperary's excellence, that game provided a massive wake-up call for us all. Our destiny is in our own hands and we are expecting a massive challenge," he said.
Waterford are expected to be without two of their key men. John Mullane is away on his honeymoon and midfielder Richie Foley has a hamstring injury. The Deise are in joint-fourth position with Tipperary and could qualify for the league final, though that would be a real long shot.