Glennon banking on ‘diligent’ preparation to beat Mayo

Galway are on a revenge mission when they face old foes Mayo in the Connacht Ladies SFC final in MacHale Park on Sunday (4.30pm ).

Galway were denied a fifth successive title last year when the Cora Staunton-led Mayo produced one of their more comprehensive performances over their neighbours, winning by 3-20 to 0-16.

However new manager Stephen Glennon is certainly hoping that result was an abberation, particularly after a solid league campaign earlier in the season.

Galway edged out Mayo for a place in the semi-finals, and also produced a narrow 2-08 to 1-10 victory on opening day of the Lidl Ladies National Football League campaign.

Scorer-in-chief Roisin Leonard scored 2-04 for Galway, while Cora Staunton bagged 1-8 of Mayo's total and that victory proved the difference as Galway qualified for the semi-finals.

Galway had led 1-06 to 1-03, with Leonard and Staunton trading goals, but Leonard’s second-half goal proved crucial as Galway got their campaign off to a winning start against Mayo, beaten finalists the previous year.

Although both sides are much changed since then, Glennon is expecting another tight affair.

"Both sides are very different because we have had a number of changes. Some of Mayo's more senior players did not feature in the league and they are back now. They are hugely experienced, while also having blooded youngsters during the league."

Galway have spent the months since the league semi-final building towards this crunch tie with challenge fixtures against Cork, Dublin, Kerry and Armagh.

Glennon says Galway have prepared "diligently" after being well beaten by Donegal in the semi-final.

"We had to go away and re-think things all right, and in many ways we started all over again."

Still with an experienced spine, Galway are led by captain Emer Flaherty in defence, alongside Sinead Burke, Fabienne Cooney, and Lisa Gannon. The attacking prowess of Roisin Leonard and cousin Tracey and Olivia Divilly will be vital in leading the younger players to victory.

One major injury doubt for Glennon is the experienced Geraldne Conneally, while Mayo manager Frank Browne reports a clean bill of health.

Mayo's Cora Staunton remains as one of the game's greatest talents and is still producing top-class performances, but Galway know there is plenty more talent in this Mayo side, including Fiona McHale, Aileen Gilroy, Martha Carter, who played from the eighth minute of last year's Connacht final with a broken hand, young Rachel Kearns and Fiona Doherty, back after a year out.

Mayo manager Frank Browne says strength and conditioning have been key in his side's preparation.

"We've been lucky over the last few years to have had some great strength and conditioning coaches working with us, people at the top of their game and now you're really seeing it.The strength and conditioning people will tell you they spent the first three months teaching the girls the correct form - but when they were able to get into their work, they were doing it right - it's not practice makes perfect, it's perfect practice makes perfect."

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