Must-win territory for Galway ahead of Monaghan trip

Referee Derek O'Mahoney gives the black card to Kieran Molloy of Galway during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Galway and Derry at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Ray Ryan/Sportsfile

Referee Derek O'Mahoney gives the black card to Kieran Molloy of Galway during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Galway and Derry at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Ray Ryan/Sportsfile

Galway fell to their second loss of the league campaign in Pearse Stadium last Sunday, losing out 1-11 to 3-10 to Mickey Harte’s Derry.

Unlike their opening round loss to Mayo, this defeat was not due to a bad performance or disappointing effort. Galway created plenty of scoring chances, and should have won based on that alone.

Things are starting to click for Padraic Joyce’s side, but he will be very disappointed in converting just 12 out of their 28 scoring chances. Not many teams in the country, especially one missing its two marquee forwards, would be able to create that many chances against a side which sit atop the Division 1 table.

Both Kieran Molloy and Seán Mulkerrins can have questions about their black cards. Molloy's was particularly confusing. The half-back did foul the Derry player Diarmuid Baker, but the latter managed to score a point. The referee then called play back and said that a goal scoring opportunity had been prevented, giving Molloy a black card for a ‘trip’ even though Baker didn’t fall. On top of that he gave a penalty for the ‘black card foul’ even though a point had been scored.

Shane McGuigan, who was marshalled very impressively by Jonathon McGrath right throughout the game, converted the penalty and gave Derry a 5 point lead that they never relinquished.

While Galway were down to 13 players, Derry outscored them 2-3 to 0-2. This proved to be the difference in the game, as Galway scored just a point while Brendan Rogers was serving his 10 minutes off the field in the first half.

Positives for Galway were captain Seán Kelly, who completed the full second half on his return to fitness. Galway also welcomed back Jack Glynn for his first few minutes of football this year. The volume of chances created by Galway is also a positive despite the low amount converted.

Galway have had plenty of injury issues to deal with this year. It is important to remember that Kelly, Silke, McDaid, Walsh and Comer were all-stars just 18 months ago, and Glynn won the young player of the year in 2022. There isn’t a team in the country that wouldn’t struggle missing players of that quality.

With Kelly and Glynn having already returned, and Comer, Walsh and Silke due back in the coming weeks, Galway might struggle to stay in the top division of the league. However, they will be heading into championship football with almost a full squad to choose from.

Tierney and Conroy missed the game against Derry but no word has come out yet on the severity of their injuries, so it is hopeful that they won’t be out long term. Galway’s only other injury worry is Cillian McDaid, who has had a groin issue to deal with along with the leg injury he suffered in October.

After Sunday's loss to Roscommon, Monaghan as well as Galway now see this Sunday's game as a must-win. Monaghan have been beaten comprehensively in all three games since their win over Dublin in the first round, and if either team fail to win they will be in serious danger of being relegated to division 2 for 2025.

This Sunday's game will be played in St. Tiernach’s Park in Clones, throw in will be at 3.15.

 

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