Galway hope Canning can inspire them to another All-Ireland
An inspirational speech from All- Ireland hurling winning hero Joe Canning could prove prophetic when Galway try to make it third time lucky in the AIG Barton Shield Final at Carton House this afternoon.
The Connacht champions have lost the last two finals of the blue-riband foursomes event, going down to Royal Dublin in 2015 and Warrenpoint last year.
A four-hole win over Tralee means they again face Warrenpoint - two-hole winners over Castle - in a revenge final. And Canning reminded them in a specially arranged pep talk last weekend that the club's strength in depth means the quartet who tee it up today will be firing on all cylinders.
"Joe made a very good point about the Galway hurlers this year, saying that the big thing for them was that the guys in training were pushing them hard," said veteran Joe Lyons after he partnered teenager Luke O'Neill to a one-hole win over Darren O'Sullivan and Eoghan O'Donnell.
"Every evening they trained, he said, there was depth there. So, basically, there's no-one there too comfortable in their position, and we've guys on the sidelines who would be willing and more than capable of coming in for any of us."
As it turns out, Galway go with an unchanged line-up for today's decider with Ronan Mullarney and Liam Power - three-under as they beat Fergal O'Sullivan and Rory Hill by three holes- back in action against Ryan Gribben and Irish international Colm Campbell.
Victory would be sweet for Galway, who are going for a rare double as they are also in AIG Senior Cup semi-final action against Royal Portrush tomorrow.
But Warrenpoint are determined to retain their title after the disappointment of their AIG Senior Cup failure in Ulster.
And while Stephen Coulter and Paul Reavey lost by two holes to Alan Lowry and Jack Walsh, Campbell and Ryan Gribben beat Alex Gleeson and Robert Moran by four holes.
"We know Galway are going to be out for revenge tomorrow and they have a very good side but I think if we play to our capabilities we will be very difficult to beat," Campbell said.
In the AIG Junior Cup, Grange will be bidding to end their 71-year wait for victory when they face Ballybunion in the decider.
Grange had scratch men Jack and Robbie Pierse as caddies as they saw off Malone 3.5-1.5 with Paul McGinley's nephew, Niall McCormick, taking the 15th and 17th to clinch the winning point with a gutsy, 2 and 1 win over David Fleming.
Adrian Walsh was the hero for the Kerry club as he sank a clutch, five-footer for par on the 20th in a 3.5-1.5 win over Loughrea.