Dublin v Galway
All Ireland Football Championship Semi-Final
Croke Park 5pm Saturday 11th August 2018
Prior to last Saturday’s abject display at home to Monaghan, Galway had been tipped as the side most likely to stop Dublin sealing a fourth All-Ireland title in a row. Impressive wins over Kerry in Croke Park and away to Kildare in Newbridge by Kevin Walsh’s men further enhanced their reputation after an impressive league campaign which had seen the tribesmen top the Division and run the Dubs close in the League final.
However, a lethargic and laboured performance against a far sharper Monaghan side has already prompted talk of a landslide win for a Dublin side who were able to rest nine players and still cruise to a facile fourteen point win against Roscommon.
Monaghan played like a team who’s life depended on victory, while Galway played at a tempo more akin to a league match in February. The big question surrounding this Galway side is their mental approach to Saturday’s semi-final. Was last weeks display an aberration from a side with one eye already on this weekends semi-final or was it a team physically and mentally fatigued by a long hard season, their first back in the top division since 2011.
Galway’s much-lauded defence stood off their opponents. Monaghan’s wing-backs in particular, Karl O’Connell and Colin Walsh, were given too much space on the flanks by their markers, who had been sucked in the field to double up on Monaghan’s dangerous forwards. So while the Farney’s danger man Conor McManus only scored a single point from play (also 4 pointed frees) the damage was done further out the field by Ryan McAnespie, Darren Hughes and Walsh. Galway will be torn apart by Dublin if they allow similar overlaps on Saturday evening.
Dublin’s Jim Gavin had the luxury of giving fringe members of his squad a run out against Roscommon. A total of 23 players got game time as Dublin ran up a grand total of 4-24. There is an embarrassment of riches available to Gavin at present. Four players who didn’t start in Omagh made strong claims for a starting spot in this weekends semi-final. Cormac Costello who featured off the bench in Omagh started this game and kicked 9 points (7 from play), while Paul Flynn hit 1-03, Eoghan O’Gara impressed while scoring 2-02 and M.D. McAuley helped himself to a goal.
Veteran Bernard Brogan got the largest cheer of the day as he was introduced in the closing stages. Roscommon did get six of the last eight scores, but the game was well over as a contest by then.
Dublin are 1/7 on for the win while Galway are 6/1 outsiders. The draw is available at 14/1. The handicap market offers Galway at +6, interestingly the weather forecast is predicting strong wind and heavy rain around the 5pm throw-in time. This could affect the Dubs free-flowing style of running football and lead to more spilling of the ball and turnovers. If the forecast is accurate then I can see Galway keeping Dublins scoring rate down and beating the handicap market.