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The Galway vs Mayo rivalry is set to continue as both sides aim to hit the ground running with the return of the Allianz National League. Last summer, Mayo finally overcame their rivals in the final qualifying round of the Championship. Previously, Galway had defeated the Green and Reds five times in a row.
Last year, Mayo won the Allianz National League by beating Kerry in the final. However, they could not replicate their form in 2020. Currently, they sit seventh in the League and are fighting for survival. Their only victory to date was against bottom of the table Meath. A draw with Donegal was their only other source of points as losses to Dublin, Kerry, and Monaghan have left them under pressure. They need two good results against Galway and Tyrone in their remaining games to ensure Division 1 status for next year.
In contrast, Galway are in control of the League and will be looking to go on and win it. Currently, they have only lost to Kerry. Wins against Monaghan, Donegal, Tyrone, and Meath had them full of momentum. As a result, they would have been left frustrated by the suspension of inter-county action. But, without a League final this year, good results against Mayo and then Dublin could see them reigned Champions.
With that in mind, it is possible that Galway will line out with a full-strength squad for their restart. Padraig Joyce has impressed so far in his stint at the helm. For example, his side’s scintillating display against Tyrone in February was a masterclass in attacking football. Add that to a strong selection from impressive Club performers and Galway are the team to beat. With Corofin finally dethroned within the county, there are new stars for Joyce to choose from. If the League is to be decided in the final round against Dublin, Galway need to pick up from where they left off.
Yet, Mayo haven’t gone away despite their League position. Their win against Galway in the Championship last year would have been a big relief after a series of losses. Recent challenge wins over Donegal and Clare are a promising start for James Horan’s team. It will be interesting to see whether any of the newly-crowned Championship winners from Knockmore will receive a call-up. For instance, Darren McHale and Kieran King were particularly impressive as they defeated Breaffy to win the Moclair Cup.
Mayo face a hectic restart with their first Championship game coming on the 1st of November. They face Leitrim in the preliminary round of the Connacht Championship. On the other hand, Galway have an extra week to prepare before they face Sligo in the semi-final.
Galway are missing a host of players and look to be starting a second string team while Mayo look to be out for the points.
Ahead of this weekend’s inter-county resumption, here is the Galway panel news as Padraic Joyce seeks to bolster his squad. Currently, Galway sit on top of Division 1 and could be crowned Champions with two good performances. However, Mayo and Dublin are their respective opponents so the Tribesmen have no time to ease themselves back to action.
In the Club Championship, kingpins Corofin finally suffered defeat at the hands of Mountbellew/Moylough. Yet, it was another side, Moycullen, who went on to be crowned Champions. In an overall exciting competition, many players stood out and Joyce is taking advantage of this.
Firstly, Corofin’s Gary Sice rejoined the inter-county setup for the first time since 2017. Despite now being 36, the four-time Club All-Ireland Champion is a great offering to Joyce’s side. His form with Corofin more than justifies his inclusion. Furthermore, the experience he offers is an invaluable asset.
In addition to Sice, James Foley (Mountbellew/Moylough), John Maher (Salthill/Knocknacarra), and Paul Kelly (Moycullen) all received calls to joins to the county panel.
These additions are much needed and the players will need to hit the ground running at the higher level. This is due to several injuries already hampering the side.
Firstly, captain Shane Walsh looks unlikely to feature in the League this weekend. The Kilkerrin-Clonberne forward was arguably the in-form play in the country before the lockdown. But, an injury picked up while on club duty has Joyce sweating over his fitness. Even if available, Joyce may not risk his marquee player before the Championship.
Secondly, Corofin midfielder Ronan Steede will miss the Mayo game but Joyce is confident he is not far from a return. Steede picked up his own injury in the shock defeat to Mountbellew/Moylough.
Finally, County champions Moycullen have announced players involved in final or moreover the celebrations have contracted Covid 19.
The @Galway_GAA team to play @MayoGAA in the Allianz League #GAA
1. C Gleeson
2. C Campbell
3. SA Ó Ceallaigh
4. J Heaney (c)
5. L Silke
6. J Duane
7. C McDaid
8. J Maher
9. C D’Arcy
10. E Brannigan
11. M Daly
12. J Leonard
13. R Finnerty
14. I Burke
15. P Conroy
Mayo return to inter-county action against rivals Galway on Sunday needing a win to stay in Division 1. Here is some Mayo squad news ahead of the fixture in Tuam.
Mayo manager James Horan has opted against any major additions following the Club Championship’s completion in Mayo. The only notable draftees are Mark Moran of Westport and Darren McHale of Knockmore coming in to bolster the attack.
Somewhat surprisingly, only one of the Championship-winning Knockmore side have joined Kevin McLoughlin on Horan’s roster. Darren Mchale kicked 1-4 in the final in a man of the match display. If he can continue such form he could force a way into the Mayo team.
On the other hand, Horan already deployed Mark Moran in a recent challenge game against Donegal. The young forward was impressive in Westport’s run to the Championship semi-final and caught the eye of the Mayo manager. He was previously a member of the U-20 squad that lost to Galway on penalties in February.
Likewise, other members of the U-20 squad could feature in Horan’s plans before the year is out. Firstly, Moran’s clubmate Rory Brickenden came off the bench in the Donegal game. Secondly, Kilmaine defender Oisin Mullen and Charlestown forward Paul Towey have made senior appearances already. Similarly, David McBrien of Ballaghaderreen appears to be a part of Horan’s plans.
Horan may well have to utilise some of his young guns after injuries have ruled out some of his regulars. For example, Brendan Harrison has not played since the first round of the club Championship. Therefore, Mullen could make his Championship debut against Leitrim.
In attack, after returning from an ACL injury in July, Mayo stalwart Jason Doherty is looking at another spell on the sidelines after injuring his knee in training.
Also on Mayo’s injury list is Ballintubber native Diarmuid O’Connor. The 25-year-old limped off in his side’s quarter-final defeat in September. Having a fully fit O’Connor will be vital to Horan who is facing Mayo’s first Championship without Andy Moran since 2004.
On the plus side, defender Colm Boyle has returned from injury since lockdown.
Allianz National League: Galway vs Mayo, Sunday October 18, 2pm (TG4).
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 7, 2020