Galway and Kerry lock horns in their first games in the Super 8’s on Sunday at Croke Park with the game due to throw in at 4pm.
Both sides come into the game on the back of good championships so far. Galway were crowned Connacht champions beating Roscommon in the final at Hyde Park by 0-16 to 2-06. Previously to that game, they hammered Leitrim in the semi-final and beat Mayo in the Connacht quarter final. This promises to be a good game, Galway possess superb forwards Damian Comer, Shane Walsh, Ian Burke. In defence Kevin Walsh has built a solid 6 players, Declan Kyne has been superb, while Gareth Bradshaw and Johnny Heaney have also been in form. Again, these players will be up against some of the best players in the country on Sunday so we will know more after that game whether or not Galway can challenge for Sam in 2018.
Looking at Kerry, it is very hard to know where they are. They breezed through Munster once again, they racked up massive scores against Clare (0-32) and Cork in the Munster Final (3-18). However, they weren’t challenged and we will know a lot more about the team this Sunday after this game with Galway. As already mentioned they have formidable forwards, the inside line could well be David Clifford, James O’Donoghue and Paul Geaney. The Galway defence will do well to curtail all three. In defence then Kerry are solid with players like Peter Crowley, Tadgh Morley, Paul Murphy and Brian O Beaglaoich. A win here would set either side up nicely going into games against Kildare and Monaghan.
Galway and Kerry meet at this stage for the second successive year. Kerry won the game easily enough last year 1-18 to 0-13 at Croke Park. That was Kerry’s fourth successive win over Galway in a quarter final, with the previous wins coming in 2002, 2008 and 2014. Kerry are the only county to qualify for every quarter final since its introduction in 2001, they have went on to win fifteen, lose two and drawn one for 18 games. The defeats came to Donegal in 2012 and Down in 2010.
Looking at Galway, they have a poor record from their last 9 outings in quarter finals, their record stands at lost seven, drawn one and won one. Kerry and Galway have met 21 times in championship, Kerry have won 12, Galway have won 6, 3 draws. Another alarming statistic is that Galway have not beaten Kerry since 1965.
Kerry are favourites here to win at 4/11, Galway are outsiders then at a tasty looking 3/1. The draw is priced at 8/1. I fully expect Kerry to win this their quality in the full forward line should be to much for Galway. The bet I do like though is for Galway’s Damian Comer to score a goal at any stage he is 5/2 to do so, Paul Geaney is 17/10 to do likewise for Kerry. I would also back James O’Donoghue for man of the match he should have a big game in him and he loves the open spaces of Croke Park.