The four quarter-finals of this season's Claregalway Hotel Galway Senior Football Championship will take place behind closed doors this weekend in Pearse Stadium.
A highlight on the Galway sporting calendar calendar, this year's quarter-finals promise to be four cracking games as the business end of the championship begins. And while there will be no spectators allowed, streaming services will provide coverage of all four games.
Salthill-Knocknacarra v Corofin
The first of the quarter-finals on Saturday at 2.30pm, sees eight-in-a-row chasing Corofin face a young Salthill-Knocknacarra side for the second successive year in the knockout stages.
The seasiders were dumped out at the semi-final stage last year by Corofin and will be hoping they will have learned from that match. They know they have the ability to trouble the Corofin defence with Cathal Sweeney and Robert Finnerty having caused problems in last year’s encounter. Add in Tomo Culhane, new on the senior scene this year, and it is clear Anthony Finnerty’s side has the firepower capable of causing an upset.
The main concern, however, will be at the other end. If Salthill-Knocknacarra’s defence can keep the Corofin forwards quiet, which is an unenviable task, they certainly have a chance.
Tuam Stars v Barna
The clash of last year’s beaten finalists Tuam Stars and this year’s surprise package Barna will follow on Saturday with throw-in at 5.30pm.
Barna topped what was viewed as the group of death with three wins from three and under the guidance of Seán Conlon look to be a real underdog for this year’s championship. They have adapted a defensive style with 13 men behind the ball leaving two up top and it has proved extremely effective thus far. Oisín Gormally and Dónal Ó’Cualáin are the two men in fine form up front and will require close attention. Tuam Stars however are coming into form of their own and building momentum for themselves once again. The sharp shooting of Brian Mannion and Cormac McWalter coupled with the ferocious work rate off the ball of each player is a daunting task for any side. Tommy Carton’s side will be fancied to prevail but it could prove to be the game of the weekend.
Killanin v Mountbellew-Moylough
The first of Sunday’s two quarter-finals is the meeting of Killanin and Mountbellew-Moylough at 2.30pm. Val Daly’s side has come into this contest slightly under the radar. A low scoring victory in the opening game over Annaghdown was followed by an unconvincing win over relegation candidates Michael Breathnachs. Then followed a hammering at the hands of Moycullen, albeit a dead rubber. One would imagine, given the experience of the Mountbellew-Moylough players, they will raise their game to make a big push for the Frank Fox.
Killanin recorded two narrow victories over Claregalway and Caherlistrane respectively, while suffering a narrow defeat to Tuam Stars. Their reliance on the Sweeneys and Johnny Heaney cannot be understated. A Killanin victory will depend on the performances of that trio.
Moycullen v St James
The last of the quarter-finals will see Moycullen face St James at 5.30pm. Moycullen are raging hot favourites given their form coming into this game. Dessie Conneely, Conor Bohan, James McLaughlin and Paul Kelly have been in scintillating form.
Many feel Moycullen are best placed to challenge Corofin for their crown this season. With Seán Kelly, Gareth Bradshaw and David Wynne also in good form, coupled with the emergence of their younger players, they will certainly push hard.
The underdogs tag will suit St James who have been in good form and building momentum following their wins over Milltown and Oughterard. Similar to Killanin however, much will depend on the usual names such as Paul Conroy, Eoin Concannon and Johnny Duane if they are to cause an upset.
The intermediate quarter finals are also taking place this weekend in Tuam Stadium.
Sat 1pm: Cortoon Shamrocks v Kilconly
Sat 4pm: Oranmore-Maree v Killererin
Sun 1pm: Kilkerrin-Clonberne v CLG Oiléain Árann
Sun 4pm: Dunmore MacHales v Headford