A glimpse at Galway

The tickets are on sale, there’s less than a week to go until throw-in. The countdown to this year’s novel Croke Park Connacht final is on in earnest so let’s take a quick look at what the neighbours have been up to of late.

The most recent time our paths crossed was when we saw them off by the minimum margin in a rather heart-stopping manner in last year’s Connacht final. We should have won that game in mid-November with a bit to spare – having whipped them soundly in the League at Tuam the previous month – but we let them back into it and very nearly paid the price at the finish.

This spring while we were slumming it in Division Two North, Galway were operating in Division One South. With Dublin and Kerry in the same group of four, it was pretty much a racing certainty that themselves and Roscommon would be heading for the relegation play-offs. Let’s face it, if we were in the same group we’d have expected the same fate ourselves.

That’s what happened so of itself it shouldn’t have been all that damaging. What would have been of concern to Galway fans, however, was the absolute shellacking they got from Kerry down in Tralee in the first round, losing by 22 points to an utterly rampant home team.

Roscommon on home turf came next, which gave Padraic Joyce a chance to steady the ship. It was an opportunity they grasped as well, winning that one by 2-16 to 1-13.

That meant that they went into their final group match – also at home, this time at Tuam – against Dublin knowing that a win would put them through to the semi-final at the All-Ireland champions’ expense. Both counties fielded fairly experimental teams that day and the match was even enough but Dublin prevailed by four points, 2-16 to 1-15, to pitch Galway into the relegation play-offs.

Monaghan provided the opposition for this play-off. Padraic Joyce had plenty of choice words to say about the decision to hand the Farneymen home advantage, which they were granted as they had only one designated home match in the group stages (but had to forfeit this due to their breaching the Covid ban on collective training).

Getting a result in Clones in a must-win game is a hard ask for any team but Galway had all but done this with two minutes of normal time to go. They led by five points at that stage, leaving them with the relatively straightforward task of seeing out the win.

But in a frantic few minutes of injury time, the home side outscored Galway by 1-3 to 0-1 to push the game to extra-time. Then, with a penalty shootout beckoning, sub Jack McCarron bagged the winner to keep Monaghan up and send Galway down to Division Two.

The Tribesmen renewed hostilities with Roscommon a bit over two weeks ago in the Connacht SFC semi-final. This time the venue was Dr Hyde Park, where Galway last lost to the Rossies in the Championship back in 1991. They never looked in danger of that run ending when, in dreadful weather, they got the better of the home team in a dour encounter by 2-11 to 0-12.

That win, combined with our victories over Sligo and Leitrim, sets us up for another Mayo/Galway Connacht final. After last year’s win we’re now one provincial title ahead of them in the roll of honour, with 47 Connacht crowns to their 46.

The head-to-head Championship record between us is also on a knife-edge. We lead that one as well, though only just about, with 43 wins, 42 losses and 6 draws. Indeed, if you strip out our sole non-Connacht Championship meeting – the qualifier clash at Limerick in 2019 – then the head-to-head record is perfectly balanced, with 42 Connacht SFC wins apiece.

We’re well ahead on aggregate scoring, however, as we’ve posted a total of 108-726 to their 88-694 over the 91 Championship matches we’ve contested since 1902.

But who’ll be ahead after Sunday’s meeting at Croke Park? We’ve heard a variety of opinions over the last while in the comments about both teams’ chances in this one so let’s be having you: how will we do in this year’s Connacht decider?

Will we beat Galway?

  • Yes (72%, 662 Votes)
  • No (28%, 263 Votes)

Total Voters: 925

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55 thoughts on “A glimpse at Galway

  1. With the exception of their game v Kerry, Galway have had a reasonable season. In fairness Kerry have knocked lumps out of every one except in their league game against Dublin when they conceded a number of goals in the first half. But back to Galway, defeated Roscommon twice, played well v Monaghan apart from late fadeout and competed with Dublin. The standard of the opposition has been quite high. In contrast our opponents have been of a lesser standard (all gone from championship now whereas Galway’s opponents with the exception of Roscommon have all made it to their provincial deciders). I think Galway have the advantage going into this one. While they are no world beaters their preparation has been much smoother. We are minus Cillian and the ciovid scare must be unsettling. Look at what happened to Dublin hurlers last weekend. We don’t know who is fit and how fit they are. Having said that, the fact the game is in Croke Park may help us and the fact that P Joyce was so up beat in telling the world that S Walsh is fully fit 11 days before the Connacht final might suggest that the great PJ may be a little economical with the truth. After some dire championship games early in the season, last weekend was better with decent provincial semi finals in Ulster and Leinster so let’s hope ourselves and the neighbours can serve up a decent match with J Horan continuing to get the upper hand over Galway.

  2. Hi, I find myself looking forward to game without feeling it is life or death. Have the sense that James Horan etc will have the best team possible out with the right mental attitude. Aido, leading on the field with others. Not the dread of years ago.

    The great thing is we don’t know what that team is. So we must be patient!

    Jack O’Connor says ‘Kildare are not going out to make up the numbers wlth Dublin’.

  3. We have an excellent chance if both Diarmaid and Leeroy are fully fit. Would be great to see Jason and Harry back in the squad.

  4. All codding and joking aside the farce that is penalty shoot outs will become a problem if it ends up deciding a senior provincial final, AI Semi or Final. Can you imagine the uproar if Kerry or Dublin were to go out on penalties this year.

  5. I don’t see why we should fear this Galway Team, they have very little of note in the championship which is where it all counts. On the other hand we have seasoned individuals sprinkled throughout the team that have performed, when it counts, in Croke Park. The fact the game is in Croker is nice advantage for Mayo. But we do need Lee, Diarmuid and hopefully Jason involved in some way, Can’t see Harrison making it.

  6. I’m pretty sure James Horan is on the record as having said training has been challenging due to the outbreak of you know what. That would be my big fear going in to this one. While I would be confident that 1to 15,and playied in Croke Park and with all other things being equal we are the better squad. But who knows who’s available or how training has been so it’s more hope than confidence for me just now.

  7. Much will depend on which team adopts to width and space of croke park. On the one hand it will suit our attacking half back line but on the other hand our defence could prove porous enough. Big role for Hennelly to marshall whats in front of him, i expect him to be quite vocal in keeping tabs on our wanderers. O Hora has put a bit of steel into the FB lineId like to see him start.
    I expect high scoring game, but we have strength in depth to get on top in last quarter.
    Unique and fascinating quarter final in store for us

  8. I wouldn’t be confident at all going in to Sunday’s game. Too many unknowns about us right now. The all time top scorer in championship history and arguably our best player in the last twenty years is injured.
    It’s talked about a bit but the standard of opposition we’ve faced in 2021 has been just awful. I don’t think people fully appreciate that fact. Galway acquitted themselves very well in Div 1 and should have stayed up.
    Galway have a fully fit panel and more importantly have been able to train together. Who knows what state our panel is in between covid and injuries? Not that the North Korean County board would tell us!

    I’ll be going for the day out as it’s been so long and I’m looking forward to the experience. As for the result, I think the nestor Cup will be heading over the border this year unfortunately.

  9. The professional setup in mayo is such that any disruption caused by covid will be minimised.

    No valid excuses. We have more depth in our squad than ever despite injuries.

  10. Don’t think the few months away from division 1 will make a huge difference. Mayo know what level of intensity to bring the next day and I expect a hard fought win. Even James ó Donoghue is afraid of us seeing as he packed in intercounty this week

  11. Just can’t see how we can be prepared right for this one. Two D4 strolls in the park, while Galway got a nice test of the Rossies. We saw how much playing Roscommon helped us last November, that preparation probably tipped the scale in our favour with a 1 point win. When you add in the fact we are now minus Cillian, Barrett, Keegan, possibly an unfit Diarmuid, the covid situation i.e not collectively training, its impossible to see how we can win it.

    Yes we have blinding pace, but so do they in some positions. As said the other day, if JH pulled this off it would be one of his greatest achievments. But I really can’t see how Galway can lose this one.

    I hope the posters on here who have been super confident about us winning, aren’t going ape s**t here Sunday evening, with the typical doomsday the sky is falling down stuff.

  12. They beat Roscommon in the league that was it in terms of results . not sure that equates to acquitted themselves very well. Personally posted a bit of tongue n cheek saying stuff like im cocky , bboked hotel for semi etc but i still feel we are capable of retaining the nestor cup if we have most available and training hasnt been disrupted too much through covid since the mini outbreak before leitrim game .

    When watching their championship game v ros , did ye not feel like Galway looked so vulnerable when ros attacked with a bit of purpose. I just feel our sheer speed and athleticism from hb line will create massive holes that TC might exploit greatly , simple analysis i know but its the best i can offer.

  13. James Horan, will as always have 1/26 + 6 primed for Sunday. Croke Park is ideal for the style of football we want to play. Galway will huff and puff but ultimately I can’t see them winning. Roscommon gave up and handed the Connacht semi final to them. Implosion against Monaghan. Hammered by Kerry, so so against Dublin, Roscommon was decent but see above. We’re the stronger team. Cillian is out for long term and missing him in not an excuse to lose. ROD has stepped up immediately. Plus look at the impact of Darren McHale – excellent so far. Tommy C is flying! No need to go on about the rest of the team, we’ll win. Can’t wait.

  14. How do people see the match ups going? Galway seem to have settled on this forward line..

    O Laoi, Tierney, Kelly
    Finnerty, Walsh, Comer

    Tierney and Kelly switch with Walsh and Comer at times but that’s the general set up.

    Hession on Finnerty is probably an obvious one. O Laoi tends to drop back as sweeper at times so maybe play Plunkett or Coen there to do similar for us. Paddy Durcan on Shane Walsh again, Mullin on Tierney or Comer, with Keegan on the other? I’m not sure if Swanny should start this game as I don’t see an obvious match up for him.

  15. Id agree with Sean Burke in that Roscommon caused them problems when running directly at them (which was rare), but if PJ has any ounce of tactical nous, he’ll have realised that, and will attempt to fix it for Sunday. That kind of sums up my point on the whole preparation thing, when you play a 10-12 ranked team like Roscommon, they’ll show up a couple of areas of weakness, but you’ll still beat them, thats the beauty of it you get to learn alot from it without losing.

    We learned absolutely nothing playing two teams ranked 28th & 29th. If anything its given supporters a false sense of security regarding our defence. We were cut open at will by D2 teams, and conceded a serious amount of goals. Look what Clare did in that second half, PJ will surely throw Conroy or Comer in ff for a few mins to exploit our 11 year in adequacy at dealing with high ball into the square.

    I haven’t even mentioned our lack of height in midfield and lack of over all midfielders. Galway will not conceded kickouts an will surely press up…that partly negates our running power from deep. Their’ll be no handy short kickouts come Sunday. Gakway have far bigger men around the middle, so we’ll be lucky to break even in the kickout stakes.

    I feel this will be a high scoring game, and yeah Tommy could make hay in croker on a dry sod…but the head is saying Galway by 2.

    Finally, in the unlikely event Galway lose this, id say its the end of the road for PJ, personally cant see how Galway folk would not kick up if they lost while we are so depleted with injuries and can’t even train collectively in the run up to the game.

  16. Lads that are flying against Leitrim and sligo are not necessarily flying. I’d have scored a few points against sligo. Not having a go at lads that came in – they look really up for it, sharp and fit. They are never going to get the time and space they got against sligo and Leitrim next Sunday. That’s a reality. Galway are a better than people are letting on. Don’t think their management team are great but they have some gifted players, who have been tested against good teams this year.
    You’d be a fool to rate our players on what has been put in front of them so far. I’ll do that after Sunday. I pray that I’m wrong and we win but I fear there’s a big performance in this Galway team and that may be enough to take us down.

  17. Rosscomon were piss poor, played defensive football which played in to the hands of Galway, I can’t see us losing this one, Galway are div 2 team, we are D 1 team operating in d2

  18. Someone`s going to have to do a one and one marking Damien Comer. That`s where the damage is going to

    come from in my opinion. (high flying forwards running off him or bulling through himself and drawing three

    defenders).

  19. It’s all well saying Galway got a good test against Roscommon but how relevant is that game? Roscommon went full blanket defence and it was played in extremely wet conditions.

    Was that anymore of a challenge than our game against westmeath? I don’t think so to be honest. I’ve no doubt it will be a very tight game however, similar to the connacht final last year.

  20. I see that mayo has named their under 20 team for the Connacht final v Roscommon. That team wont start as one of the players listed is facing a knee operation and will be out of football for 6 to 9 months.
    Why do managements name these patently false teams.

  21. Galway will run at us. They are stronger now at midfield. Comer and a few more will try to bully our backs. If we go all out attack they will be primed to hit us on the counter. If KmcL is available I think he’s a must around mid to pick up breaking ball. I think they will try to drag Oisin out and leave space inside where they have speed.
    Given the embarrassing results they’ve had, Joyce will be spitting fire for this one, and one good result against us, all will be forgiven..

  22. I’m over and back on this one but it a case of head vs heart. A fully fit and available panel id go with Mayo all day long but cillian, keegan, diarmuid out as well as Harrison and doc. Not to mention the Covid outbreak really stacks the deck in Galways favour. Saying that I don’t think Walshe and comer are fully fit although they will start and I’m really unsure of Padraic Joyce as a manager, even talking to Galway people there seems to be real question marks about him.

  23. If this game was played in MacHale Park I would expect a tight match simliar to last years Connacht final.

    Croke Park is a huge bonus to Mayo, its a pitch that suits the fitter, stronger, more physical and faster team which is Mayo on all 4 plus Horan is a far more shrewd manager than Joyce. Mayo by at least 6 points I’d reckon.

  24. @rober the Mayo team on website is wrong the one on twitter is correct with the injured player no longer named to start.

  25. @ wideball getting match ups right for Tierney and Comer will be crucial. Our forwards can give Galwy plenty to worry about

  26. Personally I would start with a very athletic and pacey team. Then finish with a more experienced team from the bench.

  27. Sorry, got the wrong team.
    The right team is up now.
    Too much time on my hands or too much sun.

  28. 1.Ronan Connolly – Ardnaree
    2.Sean Holmes – Knockmore
    3.Ruairi Keane – Mayo Gaels
    4.Eoin Gilrane – Ballinrobe
    5.Conor Flynn – Knockmore
    6.Ryan Baynes – Burrishoole
    7.Aidan Cosgrove – Kiltimagh
    8.Conor Dunleavy – Balla
    9.Jack Carney – Kilmeena
    10.Ethan Henry – Mayo Gaels
    11.Conor Reid – Bohola Moy Davitts
    12.Connell Dempsey – Knockmore
    13.Ultan O’Reilly – Castlebar Mitchels
    14.Frank Irwin – Ballina Stephenites
    15.Jack Mahon (C) – Charlestown

    MANAGER: Maurice Sheridan
    SELECTORS: Peadar Gardinar, Kieran Murphy & Kieran Kilkenny
    COACH: Alan Molloy

  29. @Sean??. Diarmuid was sub v Leitrim, should be available. I doybt if Harrison or Doc would start aftrr a long absence. Keegan injury is low key but if hes fit he will be rearin to go, i would not be surprised to see him start.

  30. That’s the wrong version of the U20 team. Donnacha McHugh is starting instead of Gilrane.

  31. Thanks Wide Ball – that clears up the confusion. Mayo GAA official need to be told

  32. I’d be fairly certain Keegan and Diarmuid will play. Harrison and Jason Doc very unlikely since they weren’t in the picture for Leitrim and it’s 2 years since either played a championship game.

  33. I thought Keegans injury was a dislocated shoulder? Surely that would mean he’s unlikely?

  34. NiallMc – in last week’s Western, James was quoted as saying about Lee that he was “a day or so away” from being available for the Leitrim game. Make of that what you will.

  35. Thanks Willie joe, I hadn’t heard that. As my better half says(a dub mind you) Keegan is always doubtful and always plays so here’s hoping.

  36. I expect Galway to go back to the Kevin Walshe version of play on Sunday.
    We will see plenty of the shawl and it will take a lot of patience and probing to set up good scoring options from distance.
    I expect a low scoring game.

  37. WJ you must have spent the day at The forty foot brushing up your all over tan for sunday
    . P jMc M was at the seaside too. Its only Tuesday lads

  38. Ah CarrigDubh, It’s too warm for ‘the Galway Shawl’… Sure with public health restrictions , Padraig Joyce wouldn’t be even allowed to sing it in a crowded setting.

  39. All the Connacht roll of honour talk does gripe with me slightly year in and year out. Only one roll of honour matters and they have 9 all Irelands and we have 3 and when the provincials are disbanded in coming years nobody will care how many Leinsters or Connachts someone had. All about the big one

  40. True Stephenite, plus a number of the first Connacht championship titles was handed out weren’t won with teams going on to represent the province in the AI series.

  41. Can’t wait for this game on Sunday, I’ll be watching it on the box as thus far I haven’t secured a ticket for the Munster final in Killarney and it will be the first one I missed for over forty years but such is life with these strange times. Mayo will love the chance to take Galway on in Croke Park as it’s like a home pitch for them and that is an advantage for Mayo no doubt but that advantage will be more than balanced by the handicap that James Horan in relation to picking his starting team.

    I have said it before that he has had no testing battle in either league or Championship to show what the newer players are at. This is a critical issue in a monster of a game between two of the provinces greatest rivals and it will have a live of its own owing to that intense want to keep the other guy down. If cillian O C was fit I would give Mayo the nod but as a complete neutral I think Galway’s run into this game will give them the advantage and I think they will win by two or three points. Would I be shocked if I was a mile wide in my prediction,, absolutely not. Good luck to all on Sunday, I’d love to be walking down Jones’s Road again and I hope no player gets a serious injury in any of the games this weekend.

  42. amazing how it works re tickets, lower hogan near middle of the pitch available now. they must sell all the shit ones first , ill know for again .

  43. Galway preview episode of the podcast is now online! Bumper episode, featuring Kevin McStay, Colin Sheridan and Barry Cullinane. Three Mayo jerseys to be won as well!

  44. Sickened I bought upper cusack now 🙁
    I remember waiting before for a quarter final that was never going to sell out . All upper tier sold for first few days before lower tier became available
    Annoyed I panicked this time around

  45. I have tickets available (3 together) in 735 on Sunday. Let me know if anyone interested. I’d prefer to sell to a Mayo fan!!

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