Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Galway's Liam Silke.
# big loss
Huge blow for Galway as All-Star defender Liam Silke opts out for 2023
The Corofin native is staying in New Zealand.

ALL-STAR DEFENDER and former club footballer of the year Liam Silke will be a notable absentee from the Galway squad for both the Allianz football league and Championship after manager Padraic Joyce confirmed he will be remaining in New Zealand for the duration of 2023 inter-county season.

Joyce had previously expressed hope that he would have the services of the Corofin clubman for summer action, but it has now emerged that Silke will be staying put in the Southern Hemisphere where he is currently working as a doctor.

The news means Galway must plan without two four-time All-Ireland club winners with Corofin for foreseeable future, given Silke’s clubmate and fellow club player of the year Kieran Molloy is recovering from a long-time ACL tear sustained in the Galway Senior Football Championship.

Speaking to The Tuam Herald this week, Joyce said: “The only one who won’t be committing is Liam Silke. It looks like he is going to be saying in New Zealand for the year, so we won’t be having him which is a big loss to us.

“I know Mayo lost a few players, but I think Liam Silke and Kieran Molloy are a bigger loss to us. I don’t think people understand or realise the importance of Molloy last year for us. He can play anywhere and he’s a big, big loss to is.

“In fairness to Kieran, he’s working extremely hard. Knowing him, he’ll probably defy logic and be back quicker than he should be.”

The Connacht champions will also be without a third player who saw action in last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Kerry, with hard-working attacker Finnian Ó Laoi recently moving to Australia.

Galway face neighbours Mayo in the opening round of the National League in Castlebar on Saturday evening.

Ahead of the game, Football of the Year nominee Cillian McDaid has been rated as “50-50” to play by Joyce after picking up a knee injury in the Tribesmen’s FBD League opener against Leitrim.

In more positive news for Galway, however, team captain Seán Kelly has returned to inter-county training following Moycullen’s All-Ireland club semi-final defeat to Glen.

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