Dublin will be hoping to make it a double appearance for the county’s minors in this year’s All-Ireland series as they face Galway in the 2011 All-Ireland Minor Football Semi-Final.
The youngsters will be hoping to emulate the success of their hurling couterparts, who secured an All-Ireland final place, as they face Galway at headquarters this Sunday.
A sold out crowd will be in attendance as the Dublin Senior footballers aim to reach a first All-Ireland final since they last won the competition in 1995.
However, the Dublin youngsters will also be hoping to write their own chapter in history as they search for their first All-Ireland title since 1984.
Their opponents Galway have enjoyed more recent success in the competition when they lifted the Tom Markham Cup in 2007, following a nail biting one point victory over Northern rivals Derry.
However, the boys from the West will be hoping to exercise their deamons following a comprehensive defeat to Cork at this stage in the competition last year.
Dublin will go into the game as favourites following a strong All-Ireland campaign which saw them easily overcome Leinster rivals Westmeath, Longford, Kildare and Meath to lift the provincial title before putting Cork to the sword in the Quarter final.
Under the direction of former Dublin Senior footballer and All Star winner Dessie Farrel, the Dublin youths ran out eight point winners against last year’s beaten finalists Cork.
Galway have so far produced a less than convincing 2011 campaign during which they enjoyed early victories over Sligo and Leitrim in the Connacht Championship before falling victim to Roscommon in the decider.
The Corribsiders could only muster a six point tally in the Hyde Park encounter, however they showed their steel in the All-Ireland quarter final as they overcame a four point deficit to snatch the victory from Cavan.
It was looking ominous for the Corrib boys before a Seán Moran goal ignited a comeback and six second-half points courtesy of Shane Walsh cemented Galway’s victory, setting up tomorrow’s date with Dublin.
If they are to truimph in Sunday’s encounter Galway will need to weather the storm of a potent Dubln attack, which includes dual star Ciarán Kilkenny, Gavin Ivory, Scott Fulham and Cormac Costello, and has notched up an impressive 8-78 in five championship matches.
However the Galway minors will take inspiration from their semi-final meeting with the Championship favourites Dublin in 1994 when the young tribesmen emerged victorious by a three point margin, 1-12 to 0-12.
Despite being tipped as favourites to go all the way, Dublin Minor selector Alan McNally insists that his sides will not be underestimating the Galway challenge and are they expecting a ferocious battle from the young tribesmen.
“They have their feet on the ground and are a mature bunch of lads,” McNally told The Irish Daily Star.
“We all know that it is going to be a tough game. You never get a bad Galway team coming to Croke Park and they have plenty of experience.
McNally, who will join manager Dessie Farrell on the sideline at Croke Park tomorrow afternoon, also pointed out that they are happy to have the distraction of Leaving Cert results and college offers out of the way going into the big game.
“About half of the panel were doing exams this year and they were all happy enough,” he said. “They all got the colleges they want and we’re delighted about that. Their education is important and if things hadn’t gone well it would have been a major distraction.”
Galway boss Tommie Joyce is hoping that his side can put the provincial final defeat firmly behind them as they line out against a Dublin team that have crushed a series of opponents in convincing fashion this summer.
Speaking to the Irish examiner Joyce said, “There’s no doubt they’ve been very impressive.”
“They’re a strong, powerful team and they enjoy a real physical advantage over teams. But they haven’t been really tested this season so far and that’s what we’re going to try to do against them.”
Despite some disappointing perfromances from the Galway Senior team of late, Joyce believes that the future is bright for Galway football as the tribesmen are still involved at minor and U21 level.
“That’s a great achievement. In football, we’ve won the U21 title this year, St Jarlath’s reached the Hogan Cup final and we’re still in the minor. Hopefully that’s a good sign for the future”, he said.
The match will kick off at 1.30pm tomorrow with the winner setting up a final meeting against Tipperary on September 18th after they overcame Connacht champions Roscommon last weekend by a two point margin.
1 Connor Gleeson
2 Adrian Nolan
3 James Shaughnessy
4 Edwin Murray
5 Eoin Walsh
6 Conor Cunningham
7 Cathal Mulryan
8 Shane Maughan
9 Gearóid Canavan
10 Sean Moran
11 Shane Walsh
12 Patrick Glynn
13 Gearóid Armstrong
14 Ian Burke
15 Conor Rabbitte
1 Ross O’Hanlon
2 Graham Hannigan
3 Robert McDaid
4 Rutherson Real
5 Eric Lowndes
6 John Small
7 Jack McCaffrey
8 Patrick O’Higgins
9 Emmett Ó Conghaile
10 Cormac Costello
11 Ciarán Kilkenny
12 Gavin Ivory
13 Scott Fulham
14 Paul Mannion
15 David Campbell