Following their impressive and well-deserved victory over Derry in Celtic Park at the weekend, the Galway senior footballers face Meath in Pearse Stadium this Sunday (2pm ) in round four of the National Football League.
Galway team manager Kevin Walsh was pleased with Sunday’s display, but knows his side needs to follow up that success with another big performance against a Meath side that after two consecutive defeats will be targeting a win to avoid relegation trouble.
Meath were quite poor at times last Sunday and went down by 1-20 to 1-13 at home to Cavan, who with Seanie Johnson to the fore, outscored Meath by 1-15 to 0-4 in the second half. That is a really damning statistic for the Leinster men, one at which Meath manager Mick O’Dowd would have been aghast.
Walsh is weary of a Meath backlash and knows they will be hurting.
“This is a tight division with a lot of very even teams. Every day you go out, you have to be well up for the game and this Sunday will be no different. We worked hard last weekend and got the two points we deserved. However, the only focus now is on getting two more in a few days’ time.
“As well as the result, it was positive that players Finian Hanley, Gary Sice, Cathal Sweeney and Paul Mannion all got some game time. We will need a full panel of lads over the next few weeks and months, and it is good to see some more lads coming back to game fitness.”
One negative from last week's training is that regular custodian in the league, Thomas Dolan (Athenry ), who had been doing well between the sticks, suffered a knee injury and will be out of action for the foreseeable future.
Galway were in total control last weekend going into the last 10 minutes, but two late Derry goals will have caused some concern. And while Walsh acknowledged the concession of the goals, he was positive about the overall performance.
“We will take a good few positives from the Derry game. And hopefully we will have learnt a bit from it too. The lads played some very good football all over the pitch and took some impressive scores and we want to replicate that this Sunday. We lost a bit of concentration at the end and none of us were happy with the concession of the two late goals, and that is something we will work on for the Meath game. However to go up to Derry and win well and produce a good strong display was pleasing for everyone involved. What we need now is to get consistency in all our performances. ”
Assuming Galway can reproduce last Sunday's scoring form and slick running, it is fair to say they are good enough to collect another two points and put themselves right in the hunt for promotion, or at least make themselves relatively safe in the division.
They hit 1-18 last Sunday against Derry’s 2-12, with eight different players getting on the scoresheet.
Johnny Heaney led the way from wing-back with 0-4 from play, Eamon Brannigan also chipped in with a few nice points, and St Michael’s man Eddie Hoare also hit 0-3, with full-forward Adrian Varley scoring the side’s goal.
Meath will be looking to Graham Reilly, Mickey Newman and Eamon Wallace, who scored 1-3 against Cavan, to lead their charge. If those three players are nullified, then Galway should have the scoring potential to win.