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With the Galway Races coming to an end this Sunday and the bookies' satchels either bulging, or their owners with long faces, after too many favourites coming home first - it is an opportune time to look ahead to the four big football games this weekend where all the favourites will be expected to jump the fences being put in front of them.
The Galway Races are coming to an end this Sunday, and the bookies' satchels will be bulging, or else they will have long faces after too many favourites came home in first place. So it is an opportune time to look ahead to the four big football games this weekend, where all the favourites will be expected to jump the fences put in front of them.
This Saturday in Croke Park (6pm) the Galway footballers will have to produce one of their best performances in a few seasons to beat the 2012 All-Ireland champions and 2014 All-Ireland finalists Donegal, in their round four qualifier clash.
This week we look ahead to the four big football games this weekend where all the favourites will be expected to win through.
The exhibition of paintings by Paddy Lamb entitled Memory of Absence will wrap up its run at the Custom House Studios in Westport this Sunday evening, February 17.
The Custom House Studios at Westport Quay is currently hosting an exhibition of works by over 42 artists and it will run every day until January 20. Participating artists are from all across Ireland and from overseas. Then opening on January 24 will be an exhibition from Paddy Lamb entitled Memory of Absence. This exhibition will be opened by His Excellency, Loyola Hearn, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland at 7.30pm on Thursday, January 24.
Westmeath have drawn Louth in the first round of the qualifiers due to take place on Saturday week, June 30.
Roscommon’s highly rated u21 team have booked their place in this year’s All-Ireland decider thanks to a well deserved 2-7 to 2-2 win over a fancied Cavan outfit in Pearse Park Longford last Saturday.
The last time that both these sides met was in the blistering sunshine in Carrick on Shannon in the National Hurling League Division 3B final last April. But despite blitzing their way though the league stages of the competition where they beat Roscommon in Tooreen on the first day of the league Mayo came up short in the final by two points.
I always find it exciting when waiting to see what teams are paired against each other from the qualifier draw. I watched it live last weekend and once it was decided it would be Longford a good lively discussion took place about Mayo’s chances of progress. Most felt Mayo would be capable of beating Longford, a team that had a very mediocre season to date. When it was clarified later that evening that Longford had been awarded the home advantage for the match on Saturday June 26 (information that was not to hand when the discussion took place earlier), the task looked that little bit more difficult. I suggested in this column last week that it might be better for all if Mayo were drawn against a top tier side. Armagh, Derry, Kildare, or Donegal immediately spring to mind. Had we been drawn against any one of these teams and managed a victory, I feel the team could redeem itself and could certainly give us some hope for a reasonably good run through the qualifiers. However a match against Longford in Pearse Park just doesn’t set the pulse racing for me and I hope this particular clash gets the team a little more excited than I feel about it right now. I watched Longford play Louth in the Leinster Championship two weeks ago. It was a game they could so easily have won and they played without their star man, Brian Kavanagh. Their other star forward, Paul Barden, did play that evening, but was not 100 per cent fit. Both apparently are back training and will start against Mayo. Also in recent years I have attended the compact Longford venue and witnessed the home side frighten the lives out of very formidable opposition. I recall in 2006 a Dublin team looking mightily relieved to leave the midlands after scraping a two point victory over the home side. Longford sent Derry packing the year before in a qualifier game. Most of you will recall Kerry really struggling to beat them last year. So when their manager Glen Ryan suggested last week that he didn’t care who his side were drawn against as long as they had a home draw, you can fully understand where he was coming from.