Footballers target win over Westmeath

The Galway footballers will appreciate more than anyone that this Sunday's clash with Westmeath at St Jarlath's Stadium in Tuam (2pm ) is a crucial game in their bid to reach the league semi-finals.

A win will leave them with a fighting chance of being in the top half of division two coming down the home stretch in a few weeks’ time; defeat will ask serious questions of the players and their self-belief with away games to Longford and Laois over the next weekends.

Last Sunday’s humbling 0-17 to 0-11 defeat to Louth must be scrubbed from the memory as soon as possible and there is nothing better to erase the memory of a sickening defeat than to bounce back with a win.

The team had not been announced at the time of going to print, but based on last Sunday's performance, especially in the second half, the management team will no doubt consider making a few changes.

Hopefully their hand will be strengthened with the return of players like Gareth Bradshaw, Gary O' Donnell, Greg Higgins and Conor Doherty over the next few weeks.

Team manager Alan Mulholland says it is back to basics for Galway.

"We have to go back to basics in training and we need to work on our ball handling. Next Sunday is an important game for us and getting two points in the Westmeath game was our focus leaving Drogheda last Sunday. Our second half was not up to scratch last weekend and we lost our way in the middle third of the pitch at times. It was a collective thing, but it was not good enough and it is something we need to improve on for this Sunday."

The Louth game was tied at 0-8 to 0-8 apiece at half time last weekend and Galway looked in reasonable shape to be in contention in the second half. Unfortunately Galway were over-run by Louth in the last 20 minutes.

Driven by former All-Star Paddy Keenan, Louth opened up big spaces through the Galway defence and kicked five points at one stage without reply. Galway only mustered 0-3 in that second 35 minutes.

“When we win a game, some people in Galway tend to get ahead of themselves a little bit,” says Mulholland. “ When we beat Derry, people seemed to think we were a little bit further down the line than we really are. We aren’t world-beaters, but we know we aren’t that bad either.

“We are short on confidence and we don’t want to knock it. We want to try to keep the lads’ confidence up. But the work rate at stages isn't good enough, and we have got to change that.”

Galway are 8/15 to win on Sunday, with Westmeath, who defeated Louth in the first round, at 15/8.

Galway v Louth: M Breathnach, J Moore, F Hanley, J Duane, C Sweeney, G Sice, G Sweeney, N Coleman (0-2 ), P Conroy, E Concannon (0-1 ), S Denvir, M Martin (0-1 ), S Armstrong (0-3, 2fs ), M Meehan (0-3, 2fs ), D Cummins (0-1 ). Subs: C Costello for Sweeney 46, F O Curraoin for Martin 46, M Hehir for Cummins 57, M Boyle for Denvir 66.

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