Mayo look to stop Galway's drive for five

LGFA: Connacht Senior Final

Up for the cup: Mayo's Aileen Gilroy Mayo and Galway's Edel Concannon will be doing battle on Sunday for the Connacht title.

Up for the cup: Mayo's Aileen Gilroy Mayo and Galway's Edel Concannon will be doing battle on Sunday for the Connacht title.

This Sunday afternoon, MacHale Park will play host to the classic Connacht final pairing of Mayo and Galway in the Connacht Ladies Gaelic Football Championship. For Mayo they will be looking to turn over Galway at this stage for the first time in four years, while the Tribeswomen are on a "drive for five" in the province.

It's been a very good year so far for Frank Browne's Mayo side, who won their seven regulation league games, before making it all the way to the final thanks to a 1-16 to 2-12 win over Kerry in the final four only for Cork to turn them over in an exciting encounter in Parnell Park by three points.

Along the way to that final, they saw off Cork, Dublin, Armagh, Kerry, Tyrone, Monaghan and Galway at various stages of the league racking up and impressive 16-90 in their eight games before the final, where they scored another 0-10. Galway have dominated the last decade or so in the province winning nine of the last 12 provincial titles, so Mayo will feel it is high time for them to reclaim their place at the top of the tree in Connacht.

Mayo manager Frank Brown has shaken things up a bit from the league final heading into this game in regards to team selection. Yvonne Byrne remains between the posts, but there is a different full back line in front of her, with Martha Carter named to start in the key full back position with Leona Ryder and Nicola O'Malley flanking her. Both Carter and Ryder had lined out in the half-back line in the league decider.

The Mayo half back line sees Sarah Tierney named at number six, with Carnacon's Marie Corbett and Castlebar Mitchels' Orlan Conlon on the wings. The middle of the park remains the same as the league final with both Aileen Gilroy and Clogagh McManamon looking to dominate the middle third.

There is one change in the half forward line from that Cork game with Sarah Rowe moving back to wing forward to make up a attacking trident alongside Fiona McHale and Carol Hegarty. The full foward line will be anchored by the peerless Cora Staunton with Moy Davitts' Niamh Kelly one side of her and Carnacon's Doireann Hughes named in the other corner, but with Hughes starting the league final in the Mayo back six, she will probably drop further out the field come Sunday.

When the sides last met in the championship in the same venue last year, there was just the bare minimum between the sides and Galway manager Willie Ward will only have around half of that side available for selection on Sunday. This Galway side recently had retirements of Annette Clarke and Lorna Joyce. Many of the big names have not returned to the fold, like Emer Flaherty, Sinead Burke, and Geraldine Conneally and others. Galway also face into the game having not had a competitive outing since their final league game on April 10, almost three months ago. Mayo will go into the game as favourites, but there is not very much expected to be between the sides come Sunday.



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