Titles on the line this weekend

Galway football supporters have plenty of action to savour this weekend, including the ladies' Connacht final replay.

First up was the U20 side managed by Padraic Joyce and captained by Claregalway’s Conor Campbell. They were due to face Shane Curran’s Roscommon in Kiltoom last evening, before the minor team host Mayo in the Connacht final in Tuam Stadium on Friday (7.30pm ). Finally on Saturday the senior ladies will play Mayo in their Connacht final replay in the Gaelic Grounds at 4pm as the curtain raiser to the men’s game against Mayo which is at 7pm.

Galway have already faced Mayo in the round robin series of the minor championship, beating them on a score line of 0-15 to 1-9. Having won the last four Connacht championships at this level, Galway would have been hopeful of making it five in a row.

Manager Donal O’Fatharta will be delighted at the way his team has been playing this year, especially the demolition of Leitrim in their last outing to confirm top place in the group. With a solid back line and Tomo Culhane in flying form in the forwards, Galway would have gone into last evening's game believing they could retain the title.

With the round four qualifier between Galway and Mayo seniors fixed for the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Saturday evening, the decision has been made for the ladies to play their Connacht final replay in the same location as a curtain raiser at 4pm.

After a rip-roaring game in McHale Park two weekend ago, this match should bring the crowds in early on Saturday.

While crowds have improved massively for ladies football in recent years, this will be a great chance for both sides to play in front of a much bigger crowd.

However Galway will need to improve greatly from the drawn game if they are to win the Connacht championship for the sixth time in seven years this weekend. They will not want to be depending on a late free to save themselves again. Dearbhla Gower performed well in goal when introduced in the drawn game and she may be given the nod from the start, while Lisa Murphy could see herself in a position out the field similar to where she plays for Kilkerrin-Clonberne. Much more will be needed from Roisin Leonard after a quieter performance than we have been accustomed to in recent times.

Galway must not allow players such as Grace Kelly to run through the defence in the way she did for her superb goal two weeks ago. Stopping runs like these from Mayo’s dangerous players will give Galway a much greater chance at winning this game. Mayo’s three goals were a killer for Galway considering they only scored six points throughout the game.

Either way it promises to be another exciting game with two teams fully going for it to hopefully ensure an easier group in the all-Ireland series.


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