On Sunday June 16 at 4pm Galway will for the fourth year in-a-row face Roscommon in the Connacht final.
Under new management Roscommon are a hugely changed team from the one that Galway defeated in 2018. In total there were 12 changes from that game and the team that defeated Mayo in Castlebar four weeks ago. There are three key areas that Galway will need to come out on top in to give themselves a chance at winning two consecutive JJ Nestor cups for the first time since 02/03.
Primary possession from kickouts is continually increasing in importance for every team across the country. Firstly with both Bernard Power and Ruairí Lavelle performing very well for club and county, Kevin Walsh has a tough decision on who to start. Whichever player gets the nod his kickouts will be under intense scrutiny right across the board. This will also put huge pressure on Galway’s half back line and midfield to make sure the attacking Roscommon players do not catch them with a quick break. Equally important will be Galway’s press on the Roscommon kickouts. The form of Tom Flynn and Fiontain O’Currain out around the middle along with the possibility of a Paul Conroy return will mean Galway will hope to force Roscommon to kick long.
2 Full back line
The form of new recruit Conor Cox and Diarmuid Murtagh would be a worry for most full back lines in the country but how will the Galway team match up against them? Seán Andy O’Ceallaigh’s strength is necessary for Cox but Galway may need a sweeper like Johnny Heaney or Seán Kelly if he can return to fitness in time. Also will it be Liam Silke, Eoghan Kerin, or somebody else to cancel out Murtagh's influence on the game? Silke’s attacking threat from deep has been of huge importance for Galway in the championship so far and he will hope to continue his form into Sunday’s game.
3 Quick inside ball
Ian Burke has not yet lived up to the highs of last summer but he is still one of the most dangerous inside forwards in the game. Not because of his scoring abilities but because of his intelligence and lightning quick hands. There is very little selfishness to his game, almost always taking the right option which will terrify any defender when he gets on the ball. If Shane Walsh, Danny Cummins, or any of the other forwards can get onto his layoffs, Galway will certainly create goal chances which will be needed to win the game. With Adrian Varley recently returning to fitness his influence off the bench can never be underestimated. Martin Farragher’s cameo appearance against Sligo shows that he has what it takes to compete at this level. Galway supporters are excited to see if he and Ian Burke can bring their club performances together to the county stage.