By DARAGH SMALL
Waterford captain Mairéad Wall says the number one objective is topping Group 3 ahead of their massive TG4 Ladies Football Championship clash with Westmeath.
Waterford make the trip to Nenagh on Saturday where they face-off with the beaten Leinster finalists in the brand new championship format (2.45pm).
Galway come into Group 3 fresh from their 0-17 to 1-12 defeat of Mayo in the Connacht final, and they will be confident of advancing as winners.
But 29-year-old primary teacher and Ballymacarbry defender Wall believes Waterford are aiming to beat both opponents and take their place as one of the top seeds in the quarter-finals.
"A lot of people are saying that we would be targeting the Westmeath game. But we want to top the group," said Wall.
"If you top the group you get a better draw in a quarter-final. We don't see why we couldn't do that. We are not targeting one game, we are targeting both."
Waterford manager Pat Sullivan will only have to do without the services of vice-captain Róisín Tobin, while she continues her return from a cruciate ligament injury she picked up in the Lidl League clash with Sligo.
The squad has been boosted massively by the return of top stars Maria Delahunty, Caoimhe McGrath and Emma Murray, who all missed out on the 2-16 to 1-6 Munster semi-final defeat to Kerry.
Westmeath conceded 5-11 in a thumping 12-point Leinster final loss at the hands of Dublin on 1 July, but Wall knows they can still be very dangerous.
"We felt we didn't perform the way we could in the Kerry game. Now we have a chance to get back into things. Our whole year could be turned into a positive," said Wall.
"We can't wait, even hearing the draw and who we are out against. We wouldn't know a whole lot about Galway and Westmeath. We played Westmeath in the league but it's a totally different kettle of fish.
"We had lots of battles with Westmeath over the years. Sometimes they come out on top and sometimes we would. It's going to be a really tough game.
"From what I hear from other people they are going really well. It's going to the unknown. We haven't played them in a while, and it was early in the league. It will be a tough game but we are putting in the work.
"We have a good squad coming into it, and no major injuries. A couple of niggles here and there. But we have Maria Delahunty back. She was out with her ankle but she is back. It is huge to have the selection. We are using our five subs more than ever this year.
"One day you can be on and the next day you can be taken off. It's taking 20 people to go into games. It's no longer just 15-a-side."