Sunday 18 March 2018

Kelly relishing chance to impress Walsh ahead of league opener

Seán Kelly. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Seán Kelly. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Injuries and retirements have left Galway football manager Kevin Walsh with no choice but to draft in young players and experiment as they head into their first Division 1 campaign since 2011, but already some of the young guns are putting their hands up.

Walsh will use this evening's FBD League clash with Mayo in Castlebar to try out more players.

Seán Kelly is one of several of last year's U-21 side which reached the All-Ireland final against Dublin to be given an opportunity and the Maigh Cuilin clubman, a son of the late Galway star Pádraig 'Dandy' Kelly, is relishing the opportunity.

The talented forward had a couple of runs a year ago at senior level and has been drafted back in and is in contention as the Tribesmen prepare to open their league campaign against Tyrone at the end of the month.

"It's just great to get experience at this level. We did well in the U-21 last year but it was tough losing the final," said the youngster.

"But a few of us have been brought into the senior squad and we just enjoying it, it's the next step up. You would notice the difference in training, it's intense but at the same time it's enjoyable and that's why we are all doing it."

Kelly - whose father was a mainstay in the Galway team when current manager Walsh made his debut in 1987 - was one of five players from the Maigh Cuilinn club to feature in the opening FBD League win over Sligo last week, with the experienced Gareth Bradshaw and David Wynne being joined by Peter Cooke, Dessie Conneely and Kelly.

Kelly struck the only goal of the game in that 1-12 to 0-11 win over Sligo. "I just kept it low and it was good to see it go in," he said.

His youngest brother Paul is also a promising footballer and basketball player, while middle brother Eoghan is on a basketball scholarship in the United States.

Their father Dandy was a key figure in Galway's Connacht senior titles in 1984, '86 and '87 and Seán knows that comparisons will be made with his late father, who died suddenly in 2001 aged just 40, but for him it is a matter of getting more experience at this level and seeing how far he can progress.

"Four or five of us have been brought this winter, a couple of the other U-21s were already in at senior last year so it's good having them there. We're enjoying it and I suppose we just want to see how far we can go," added Kelly.

Irish Independent

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