The Galway senior footballers will have to forget about last weekend’s disappointing one-point defeat to Westmeath and refocus on the fresh challenge they face on Sunday when Meath visit Pearse Stadium (2.30pm ).
Seamus McEnaney’s charges also suffered a narrow defeat on Saturday when going down by one to Kildare, 0-18 to 2-11, in Páirc Tailteann. In a high-quality game,eight different Meath forwards scored and the Galway defence will have to be on full alert to stop Stephen Bray, Paddy Gilsenan, Graham Reilly and Seamus Kenny.
Meath knocked Galway out of the championship in a second-round qualifier last July. That was a close game and Meath snuck the victory by 0-11 to 0-10. Galway had a late chance for a goal in that tie and they battled well in the second half after being well behind at half time.
Those same battling qualities will be needed for the full 70 minutes this Sunday if Galway are to get anything out of the game. Meath, who hammered Westmeath in the league a few weeks ago, have their sights set on promotion from division two. They are a strong and fit side and Galway will have to show huge determination and work rate.
Galway team manager Alan Mulholland says his side will also have to be more clinical in front of goal and show more composure this Sunday if they are to garner the points.
“Meath are playing very well and it is a difficult assignment," he says. " There was very little between the sides in last year’s championship and we will be approaching Sunday in a positive frame of mind.
" We all know we will have to improve significantly on how we played last weekend to match them. Our next two games are at home and we are hopeful Galway supporters will come out and give us a boost.
"We had good support last weekend in Westmeath, and we were very disappointed that we did not get at least a point out of that game. Vocal home support is a major plus for any team and we would ask the Galway GAA supporters to come out and give us their backing this Sunday.”
Galway were due to select their team after training last night (Wednesday ), but they have some injury concerns.Midfielder Fionntáin Ó Curraoin is unlikely to be available for selection due to the ankle injury he sustained in the Sigerson Cup with DCU. The senior management team will also try to accommodate several players who also will be in action next Wednesday with Gerry Fahy in the Connacht u-21 championship against Mayo. On the plus side, Milltown’s Diarmuid Blake is likely to get his first league start this weekend, while Damien Burke and Seán Armstrong are pushing for inclusion.Killererin’s Micheál Boyle is back at full training and he may see some action this weekend. Padraig Joyce is also injury free and is working on his sharpness and fitness and he is likely to see competitive league action over the coming few weeks.
A late three point-rally by Westmeath saw Galway lose out on a point last weekend when the home side won by 0-14 to 0-13. Galway had looked set for victory when they led by two points with a few minutes of normal time left, but they lost concentration, made some errors, and allowed Pat Flanagan’s men edge the contest with a flurry of late points.
Galway team v Westmeath: M Breathnach; K McGrath (0-1 ), F Hanley (cpt ), K Kelly; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G Sice; N Coleman 0-1, J Bergin; C Doherty (0-1 ), P Conroy 0-2, M Hehir (1f ),; M Martin 0-4 (4f ), N Joyce, D Cummins 0-2. Subs: D Burke for Joyce (h-t ), G Higgins for Martin (48 ), S Armstrong (0-1 ) for Hehir (49 ), G O’Donnell for Bergin (57 ).