Three key duels
Paul Conroy v Johnny Martyn
Conroy was in sparkling form against Roscommon, hitting 1-4, and the St James’ player is starting to fulfil his underage promise in the senior jersey. He has bulked up considerably in the past few years and that, added to his height and good fielding ability, makes him a tough customer for any full back to handle.
He is a player in top form, his confidence is high, and Galway supporters will be hoping he can continue in his current rich vein of form.
Sligo have selected newcomer Johnny Martyn instead of the experienced Noel McGuire at number three, and it will be a baptism of fire for Martyn.
Ross Donavan may also be asked to shadow Conroy if he is going well. However it is unlikely that Kevin Walsh will allow his defence to be as open and stretched as Roscommon’s was. Expect lots of Sligo bodies to funnel back to try to stifle Conroy, Armstrong and Hehir.
Gary Sice v Paul McGovern
Sice has become a key player under Mulholland and his form has been hugely impressive in the past few months. He was very direct in the win over Roscommon and used his pace and power to telling effect.
The Belclare man’s ability to win ball in the loose, break tackles, and support the midfield and the inside line from wing-forward make him a really important “hunter-gatherer” for the team, while his scoring stats have improved too.
Walsh will have told McGovern to stop Sice but, based on what we have observed in the past few months, that will be hard to do.
Keith Kelly v Stephen Coen
Alan Mulholland is a big fan of the Ballinasloe youngster and he gave him his senior debut against Roscommon the last day out. Keith was on Mulholland’s All-Ireland winning minor team in 2007 and he now has a chance to nail down a regular starting spot at senior level.
Kelly reads the game well and he is a good player. On Saturday he faces one of Sligo’s most potent forwards in Stephen Coen, and it will be interesting to see how the duel goes. Coen will probably be in a two man full-forward line with Adrian Marren and that should allow extra space for them to operate in assuming Kieran McGrath follows Mark Breheny out the field.