The Galway senior footballers are in action this Saturday evening (6pm ) in Salthill against Monaghan in the final game of the All-Ireland quarter-finals. It will also be Galway’s last home game of the season so all maroon GAA supporters should make the effort to get to Pearse Stadium to cheer their side on.
Kevin Walsh’s squad have already qualified for the All-Ireland semi-finals on the following weekend (August 11/12 ) - however, this weekend’s result will determine whether they face Dublin or Donegal/Tyrone in their semi-final.
A win or draw will see Galway take on the winners of the Donegal and Tyrone game which is on this Sunday in Ballybofey, - however a loss to Malachy O’ Rourke’s side will see Galway taking on Jim Gavin’s outfit in the semi-final on Saturday evening - August 11.
Dublin are the best team in the country currently and are seeking a fourth All-Ireland success this September following their successes in 2015/2016 and 2017 so not too many people expect them to be beaten by anyone over the next month. However, nothing is certain in sport and Mayo were only beaten by a single point by them last year and took the Dubs to a replay in the final in 2016 - so who knows for certain what will happen.
Difficult to know how Galway will approach this game
As Galway have already got a slot in the last four - do they go full out for the win this weekend and play their best available 15 players? Or do they give some of their bench a run from the start and put in guys like Adrian Varley, Patrick Sweeney, Seán Armstrong, Johnny Duane, Gary O’ Donnell, Fiontán Ó Curraoin or Barry McHugh into the starting team.
Perhaps mix it up a bit? With Michael Daly still troubled by a hamstring there is certainly going to be at least one change from the starting team against Kildare.
No red cards please
Cork’s Conor Lane is refereeing the game and the Galway players should not need to be warned about the need for impeccable discipline with an All-Ireland semi-final on the horizon. Straight red cards are a definite “NO-NO”.
Monaghan will be coming to Salthill all guns blazing to get something out of the game and you would imagine that they will have the psychological advantage of knowing that they must get a minimum of a point out of the game - assuming Kerry beat Kildare well in Killarney - to get to a coveted All-Ireland semi-final.
They have some really good players such as top forward Conor McManus, wing-back Karl O’ Connell who has been in superb form over the past few weeks, and goalkeeper Rory Beggan who hit some stunning frees from distance in their draw with Kerry in Clones. Other players to keep an eye out for are Fintan Kelly who was red-carded the last time the sides met in the league, Vinny Corey, and impressive midfielder Darren Hughes.
Monaghan showed good form in their game with Kerry and it was a game they should have closed out until David Clifford got in for his injury time goal to level matters.
Farney defender Colin Walsh Walsh is all too aware that an in-form Galway outfit will be difficult opponents.
“We faced them earlier in the year in Salthill and they beat us. They should probably have beaten us by more than what was shown by the score-line because we got a goal with the last kick of the game off Kieran Hughes,” he said. “They’ve a good blend there at the minute. They’re very strong at the back, and they’ve got that class and pace up front. There are a lot of forwards that are very dangerous and can change a game. They’ve only lost one game all year, and that was the league final against Dublin, so, they’re in that winning frame of mind and it’s just something we’re going to have to break down and see how we can get the better of them.”