If there were any doubts about match sharpness going into last weekend, the Galway minors quickly dispelled them with an impressive eleven point win over Limerick.
Winning 1-20 to 0-12, the margin of victory was entirely deserved, as the hurlers in maroon finally got their Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Championship under way.
Until now they have just had to sit by and watch as the provincial round robins took place, even as Tipperary and Dublin won the Munster and Leinster titles respectively.
Galway seized the initiative in their first game of the summer, beating a Limerick team still hurting from their Munster final loss just a week previously.
Limerick will be cheering on their conquerors this weekend, as a win or draw for the Galwegians against Kilkenny will ensure qualification to the All-Ireland semi-finals while keeping the Treaty U17's in the frame. However, they now find themselves in a slump despite being arguably the best performers in the Munster round robin.
Sunday July 15th Senior - Kilkenny Vs Limerick at 2pm, Minor - Kilkenny Vs Galway at 12pm. Venue: Semple Stadium.
— Kilkenny GAA (@KilkennyCLG) July 9, 2018
Here are your nominees for Player of the Week:
Donal O'Shea - Galway
Leading from the front, Donal O'Shea guided his Tribesmen colleagues and they followed suit, convincingly beating an out-of-sorts Limerick side.
1-5 ag Donal O’Shea @Galway_GAA mac le iar-bhainisteoir Thiobraid Árann Eamon.
Highlights of the @ElectricIreland minor quarter-final between #Galawy & @LimerickCLG at 8pm on @SportTG4 pic.twitter.com/LWSLmILqtk
— GAA 2019 (@GAA_2019) July 9, 2018
Son of the former Tipperary manager Eamonn, it was he who got the decisive score in this tie, raising the green flag after rattling the net to give the Galway minors an eight point lead just before the interval.
O'Shea was ever present at full-forward, scoring 1-5 in all, three of which came from frees and another from a 65. Without his ability to pick up easy scores as well as put away goal chances, this would have been a much closer tie than it ended up being.
Paddy Rabbitte - Galway
It's not often that a goalkeeper grabs the attention, but then again it's not every day you see a goalie make a wonder save against one of the most lethal forwards on your championship debut.
Paddy Rabbitte set the tone for the rest of the game in the sixth minute, denying Cathal O'Neill a goal with a superb stop to ensure that Galway didn't start off on the wrong foot in every sense.
Perhaps the fact that the Galway minors have not played until now gave Rabbitte an edge, in that he was prepared for what O'Neill and company had to offer, while the Treaty boys were going in cold.
It certainly seemed that way as Rabbitte is the only keeper at the U17 grade to keep a clean sheet against this Limerick side this season.
Cathal O'Neill - Limerick
How different it could have been had Cathal O'Neill put away a great chance in the opening minutes of this tie rather than saved by the inspired Rabbitte.
“We’ll come back fresh.”
Limerick Minor Manager Antoin Power says his side will be back and better for Round 2 of the All-Ireland Quarter-Final series. They lost 1-20 to 0-12 against Galway today. pic.twitter.com/9xt7qQIIMZ
— Limerick's Live 95FM (@LimLive95fm) July 8, 2018
Limerick's top goal scorer this year, O'Neill was in fantastic form against the Galway minors regardless. He came away with eight scores, more than anyone on the field, seven of which were frees.
One such free went over the bar from the halfway line, while another was near enough to his own 45, demonstrating a wonderful ability to find the posts from long range.
While Limerick's dependence on him was sure to catch them on the hop sooner or later, O'Neill will pose serious problems for Kilkenny in the third round of fixtures.
Have your say and cast your vote for the player of the week nominees on Electric Ireland's Facebook page by clicking here. All nominated players will be in with a chance of making overall team/player of the year at the 2018 Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards.