Following their impressive 1-20 to 0-18 victory over Armagh on Sunday, the Galway seniors face Pat Gilroy’s Dublin in Pearse Stadium this weekend. If Galway win, and other results go their way, they could avoid relegation to division two.
Dublin have already qualified for the league final with 12 points from their six games. They have been racking up huge scores and have hit 14-73 in their six outings to date. Luck has been with them too and they were fortunate last weekend to overcome Down when it took a late Alan Brogan goal to win by 2-10 to 0-13.
It will be interesting to see if Pat Gilroy uses Sunday as an opportunity to give some game time to some of his fringe players and rests the likes of Bernard Brogan.
Galway will no doubt stick to the starting 15 who did so well up north last Sunday. That will see the new-look half-back line of Gary O’Donnell, Greg Higgins and Gary Sice, that has been gelling well, getting another outing and the Finian Hanley and Joe Bergin partnership at midfield.
Padraig Joyce was superb on his re-introduction to county football last Sunday and it was his 0-5 and his leadership that was vital in securing the team’s first points. His use of the ball was exemplary and it was great to see the three-times All-Star back in action.
Tomás Ó Flathárta was rightly pleased with the result and the overall effort and cohesion his side showed. To hit 1-20 was marvellous scoring and it was fantastic to see the likes of Paul Conroy (0-4 ), Gary Sice (0-3 ) and Cormac Bane (1-05 ) hitting the target with such regularity.
Hopefully that form can be maintained this Sunday and, regardless of how other results go, it would be gratifying to finish the league campaign with a home win. Sunday may be Galway’s last home game for the year depending on how the championship opener goes against Mayo on June 26 in McHale Park.
Can Galway avoid relegation on Sunday?
Galway, Armagh and Monaghan are all battling to avoid the drop to division two next season.
Armagh are on four points, Monaghan are on two and will be at home to Mayo, while Galway are also on two and are at home to Dublin.
If Armagh lose and both Monaghan and Galway triumph, the three teams will all be on four points. In that instance scoring difference will be used to separate them. That would not suit Tomás Ó Flathárta’s men as they are currently trailing Armagh by 14 and Monaghan by eight.
If two teams end up on the four point mark, then head-to-head records will determine which is relegated. A win or even a draw for Armagh in Cork would consign Monaghan and Galway to division two. Thus Galway need to beat Dublin, hope Cork beat Armagh, and that Monaghan lose to Mayo.