Galway may rue last weekend's missed opportunity

Question marks over Damien Comer and Dylan McHugh

Galway’s 0-16 to 1-12 loss to Armagh on Sunday afternoon knocked them off the top spot in the group stage, and the result is a preliminary quarter-final against Mayo in Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams needed just a draw to progress as group winners and get a bye straight into the quarter-final, but Mayo’s three-point loss to the Kevin Walsh-coached Cork dropped them to third on score difference, with Kerry having an enormous win over Louth.

Galway had plenty of chances to win the game against Kieran McGeeney’s side, most notably Shane Walsh’s penalty miss. But there has been very little between Galway and Armagh in their last two matches with penalties needed in last year’s quarter-final, and Galway edging a tight league game in March.

With both sides missing their star number 14s, and on a tight pitch that is Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, many expected the game would be similar to their league meeting which Galway won 1-8 to 1-6. However, Armagh, needing a win to progress, ensured the game was much more expansive, but no less competitive. The sides were level 12 times before Armagh won 0-16 to 1-12.

Galway will be hoping to have the services of Damien Comer and Dylan McHugh on Sunday, with both players missing last weekend having been named in the starting 15.

Kieran Molloy’s return for his club in the league semi-final has provided him with some minutes, and another boost for Galway would be to see the Corofin man take his place on the 26-man panel for the match against Galway’s old rivals.

Galway have had the upper hand over Mayo in the last number of years, but when it comes to the big day, the Tribesmen still seem to struggle to get the result, and have lost to Mayo in knock-out football three times since 2019, in addiiton to this year’s league final.

Galway enjoy home advantage with the game throwing in at 3pm in Pearse Stadium. The game is live on RTE 1 as the Tailteann Cup semi-finals are on RTE 2 at 2pm and 4pm respectively.

The four preliminary quarter-finals were due to be played on Saturday, but this game was changed to Sunday to accommodate the Galway hurlers playing Tipperary on Saturday evening at 6.15pm.

After two rounds Galway and Mayo sat top of their respective groups, and not many would have foreseen this as a second v third preliminary game. However, it shows the competitive nature of a group stage and also gives the GAA a reason to believe the new system is working. its aim was to get rid of dead rubber games, and in the final round the only dead rubber game was Derry v Clare.

Galway manager Padraic Joyce has lamented his side’s performances after a number of games this year, saying his players need to be slicker, while also needing to produce a full performance across 70 minutes. Last week’s loss to Armagh might just give his side the kick they need to get into full championship football mode. Either way, Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon is sure to be jam-packed for what can be seen as an old-school Connacht final.

Seán Hurson has been confirmed as the referee for Sunday’s meeting, having previously taken charge of Mayo v Kerry in the first round of this year’s All-Ireland SFC.

Galway championship

The draw for the senior and intermediate club championship took place on Monday night. The senior championship has 17 teams in it and will have three groups. Two groups of six and a group of five.

Group 1: Maigh Cuilinn, An Spideal, Milltown, Naomh Anna, Annaghdown, St James’

Group 2: Salthill-Knocknacarra, Corofin, Killanin, Barna, Oughterard, Caherlistrane

Group 3: Mountbellew-Moylough, Claregalway, Tuam Stars, St. Michael’s, Dunmore MacHales

The intermediate championship has 16 teams with four groups of four.

Group 1: An Ceathry Rua, Glenamaddy, Williamstown, St Brendan’s

Group 2: Monivea/Abbey, Clifden, Corofin, Caltra

Group 3: Kilconly, Kilkerrin/Clonberne, Michael Breathnachs, Cortoon Shamrocks

Group4: Oileann Arann, Killererin, Oranmore/Maree, St Gabriel's

Who will win the battle of the Connacht rivals in the hunt for The Sam? Check out EPIC ODDS with BoyleSports on the match, get 2/1 (was evens ) for Galway to win or 2/1 (was evens ) for Mayo to win the match, exclusively with BoyleSports.

 

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