All-Ireland semi-final spot on offer for Tribesmen

Galway’s defensive rigidity set to be tested against high-flying Armagh

Jack Glynn is a member of the Galway defence which has been so impressive thus far in the championship.

Jack Glynn is a member of the Galway defence which has been so impressive thus far in the championship.

Galway will face Armagh in Markievicz Park this Sunday afternoon at 1.45pm. With both teams already safely progressed through the group stage of the All-Ireland championship, this game will decide who comes out on top, thus avoiding the preliminary quarter final.

The Orchard county have a superior scoring difference to Galway after their 11 point win over Derry in round two. The objective for the tribesmen is simple - they will need a win to top the group. A draw will be enough for Kieran McGeeney's side, but he will be eager to showcase his team's attacking threat against one of the meanest defences in the country.

Padraic Joyce’s side have conceded an average of just 13 points across five championship games this season. With all the injuries to his key players, Joyce and his management team must be delighted with the consistency in their defence. He has named Connor Gleeson in goal, the same back six, and Paul Conroy for their five championship games.

Key to that defence has been the man-marking displays of Jonathan McGrath. He has performed admirably so far against some of the top forwards in the country. Alongside McGrath in the full back line are Seán Fitzgerald and Jack Glynn, amazingly the same full back line that won Galway the u20 All-Ireland title in 2020.

From the side that won Galway’s first u20 title; Cathal Sweeney, Cian Hernon, Matthew Tierney and Tomo Culhane have all tasted championship football this year - while Conor Flaherty is the back up 'keeper to Gleeson. That Galway have managed to bring through so many of that group to comfortably play senior inter-county football is a credit to all involved.

Galway’s defence must remain resolute if they are to contain an Armagh side on a high after their Derry trouncing.

On the other hand, Galway are likely to again be without key players Damien Comer, Rob Finnerty and captain Seán Kelly for this game. With the return of Cillian McDaid to the side along with Matty Tierney and the return to form of Shane Walsh - Galway are so far managing to cope without the injured players - but Sunday's game will be by far their sternest test yet.

After losing to Armagh in the final group game of 2023, Galway then lost to Mayo just a week later. Avoiding the preliminary quarter final and that extra game could play a huge part in the Tribesmen extending their footballing summer.

Tyrone’s Seán Hurson will referee the game in Markievicz Park. Hurson was the referee for last year’s defeat to Mayo that ended Galway’s interests for the summer. He was also the referee for their 2022 final loss to Kerry.

Padraic Joyce and his players will have to be at their best to avoid three losses in a row with the Tyrone man in the middle.

 

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