Galway v Mayo, Saturday, 7 pm, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
The GAA have placed the Galway v Mayo Round 4 qualifier in Limerick as they deemed that no other venue in Connacht could hold the expected attendance the game will attract. The GAA offered the teams a coin toss for home advantage but sides refused. So, this is where we are now and a massive game to decide who goes to the Super 8’s will take place in Limerick. The game is live on Sky Sports also.
Beginning with Galway, Kevin Walsh’s men come into the game on the back of beating London narrowly in the province 0-16 to 1-09, beating Sligo 3-11 to 0-07, before losing the Connacht Final to Roscommon 1-13 to 0-12. A massive performance will be required here if they are to progress to the Super 8’s for the second year in a row. Kevin Walsh will look to Liam Silke, Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh and Eoghan Kerin in the full-back line. In midfield, Tom Flynn and Fiontan O’Curraoin will likely continue their partnership. In the forward line Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and Michael Daly will need to have big games.
Mayo come into the game on the back of a couple wins so confidence should be high. However, there have been several reports that big players Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea may miss the game through injury, Connacht Tribune and Midwest Radio reporting this. If these players were to miss the game I think Mayo will be in big trouble, albeit Cillian O’Connor will probably come back in to start in the inside line. Mayo had a poor Connacht Championship beating New York, before losing to Roscommon by a point. They have turned things around since though with a 1-16 to 1-11 over Down and then last weekend beating Armagh 2-13 to 1-15. James Horan will look to Chris Barrett and Keith Higgins in defence, while Matthew Ruane will need to have an even bigger performance in midfield if O’Shea is absent. In attack, Darren Coen, Cillian O’Connor, Kevin McLoughlin and Fionn McDonagh will be key players.
Last 5 Championship Meetings
2018 Galway 1-12 Mayo 0-12 (Connacht quarter-final)
2017 Galway 0-15 Mayo 1-11 (Connacht semi-final)
2016 Galway 1-12 Mayo 0-12 (Connacht semi-final)
2015 Mayo 1-15 Galway 2-08 (Connacht semi-final)
2014 Mayo 3-14 Galway 0-16 (Connacht Final)
Galway are looking to reach the quarter-final for the 5th time in 6 seasons. They missed out in 2015. Mayo are looking to reach the quarter-final stages for the 9th time in 11 seasons. They missed out in 2018 and 2010. James Horan led Mayo to three championship wins over Galway 2011, 2013 and 2014, similarly, Kevin Walsh has won the last three battles between the sides in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as a manager.
Mayo (All-Ireland SFC v Galway): David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins; Patrick Durcan, Colm Boyle, Michael Plunkett; Stephen Coen, Aidan O’Shea; Fionn McDonagh, Jason Doherty, Ciaran Treacy; Cillian O’Connor, Darren Coen, Kevin McLoughlin.
Galway: Ruairi Lavelle, Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy Ó Ceallaighi, Liam Silke, Gary O’Donnell, Cillian McDaid, John Daly, Tomas Flynn, Michael Daly. Peter Cooke ,Shane Walsh, Johnny Heaney, Aintaine Ó Laoi, Martin Farragher, Ian Burke
Not much separates the sides in the betting with Mayo 10/11 and Galway 6/5. If Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea are out then the ball is certainly in Galway’s court. However, I think Mayo might edge this one by 2 points.