The Galway footballers travel north to take on Armagh this Sunday (2.30pm ) in an effort to get their first points of the 2011 NFL campaign.
Unless Tomás Ó Flathárta’s men can get a win this weekend, they will be relegated to division two next season.
After five defeats on the trot, team confidence could badly do with a shot in the arm before the end of the league. Any win would be a good one.
There were a few positive signs in the display against Cork in Pearse Stadium, but to say the panel has turned a corner and is on the upward curve would seem to be premature. What can be said is that there was effort and plenty of commitment on display and all players gave their all for the cause.
Against better opposition though, effort and workrate alone is not sufficient to garner winning results and it will be interesting to see how the team perform in Crossmaglen on Sunday.
Almost certainly there will be some changes in personnel from the side that started against Cork. With Colin Forde and Jonathan Duane in action with the u-21s on Saturday afternoon in the Connacht final, it could be asking too much of them to be 100 per cent ready for senior action less than 24 hours later.
There has been some positive news from the camp this week and three times All-Star Padraic Joyce and Moycullen’s Gareth Bradshaw are back in full training and may be available to play a role this weekend.
And Michael Meehan had some scar tissue removed from his troublesome ankle injury and will hopefully be able to play in this summer’s Connacht championship. He has not seen action since the defeat to Sligo in the championship last year. To see him back would be a terrific boost to everyone who follows football in the county.
Meehan is an absolutely crucial player to Galway’s cause and his absence has been sorely missed this spring.
His absence is particularly obvious in Galway’s goal-scoring stats. The Tribesmen have only hit the net once in their five games to date and it was wing back Gary O’Donnell who raised that green flag. That no forward has managed a goal in more than 350 minutes of league football is a poor return.
In tight games a goal is vital to get a victory and Galway’s inability to find the “onion bag” with any degree of regularity is a key reason why they are pointless and have a shockingly poor scoring average this season ( -29 after five games is not good ).
It is fair to propose that unless they get a goal or two this Sunday, they will have a fruitless trip to Armagh too.
Galway, knowing that defeat will mean automatic relegation, should put in a solid effort, but with the Crossmaglen contingent back for Paddy O’Rourke and two of Joe Kernan’s sons in the starting 15, there should be plenty of motivation for the Armagh men too.