Tribesmen’s three in a row hunt hots up

Paul Conroy is on the hunt for his fifth Nestor Cup and Galway's third in as many years. They face Sligo in a crunch semi-final this Saturday at 3.30pm.

Paul Conroy is on the hunt for his fifth Nestor Cup and Galway's third in as many years. They face Sligo in a crunch semi-final this Saturday at 3.30pm.

Galway face Sligo in the Connacht semi-final this Saturday in Markievicz Park at 3.30pm. With both sides having won their respective quarter-finals two weeks ago, an interesting game is surely in store for punters.

The tribesmen struggled to safety in division one of the league this year, but powered through London in a facile opening round victory. They scoried 1-15 in the first half - followed by four quickfire goals early in the second, putting the game to bed with minimal fuss.

Sligo, on the other hand, struggled early on against Andy Moran’s Leitrim. They failed to score inside the first 13 minutes, even with the aid of a gale force wind. They did however get on top to lead 0-9 to 0-1 at the break. Winning the game 0-15 to 0-6 shows just how much Tony McEntee’s side has improved and continue to improve under his stewardship.

With a number of Sligo’s successful u20 side from 2023 now involved in the senior set up, there are clear signs of youthful energy and exuberance added to a team that has become much harder to beat. The Yeats' County will surely look to make up for their heavy defeat to Galway in last year’s Connacht final.

Galway are currently pursuing three Connacht titles in a row, something they have not achieved since their 1982-84 winning era. Victory in Sligo is no easy feat, and Galway’s still depleted squad against Sligo’s added strength will yield a much tougher contest than the last time they met. In that fixture, the tribesmen ran out easy winners, 2-20 to 0-12.

If Galway win on Saturday they must still overcome either Mayo or Roscommon to achieve three in a row.

Galway, Mayo and Roscommon are all guaranteed their place in the last 16 group stage. However Sligo, who played in division three this year, must reach the Connacht final if they are to make it to that stage. A defeat on Saturday will send them into the Tailteann Cup along with London and Leitrim.

Galway last played in Markievicz Park in 2019, and only Liam Silke, Kieran Molloy, John Daly, Johnny Heaney and Rob Finnerty from that game are likely to play again this weekend. Galway won 3-11 to 0-7 that day but struggled for large parts of that game, as many sides do when they come to play in Sligo.

Dublin’s Barry Tiernan will referee a Galway match for the first time, in what is the 41st championship meeting between Galway and Sligo.

Sligo have managed just five wins and five draws in the previous 40 meetings. Galway have largely dominated this fixture with 30 wins, but Sligo managed three victories in a row in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

With Sligo staying in division 3 for 2025 - and Galway managing to stay in division 1 despite all their injuries, it is hard to see past another win for Padraic Joyce's side.


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