Footballers face relegation if they lose to Down on Sunday

The Galway senior footballers have it all to do this Sunday when they face a vibrant Down in Tuam Stadium (2pm ) in the National Football League round four.

The 2010 All-Ireland finalists, who have been under the guidance of former All-Star James McCartan for several years, had a whopping 4-16 to 0-9 win over Louth last weekend. Tthey will be coming west gunning for two more points as they push for promotion to division one.

In the other dressing-room, Galway's confidence will be quite brittle after their embarrassing 15-point (1-20 to 0-8 ) defeat to Laois. It will take a supreme effort, individually, collectively, and by team management, to turn that performance around in a week.

Manager Alan Mulholland will know that despite all the genuine effort the players have been putting in over the past few months, that the display against the O' Moore men, especially in the second half, was not good enough and has left Galway football supporters upset and frustrated.

The panel has held a meeting and training since to try to refocus on how to turn their league around, but after three consecutive defeats, that is not easily done.

Nevertheless, unless the players and management can produce an inspired performance next weekend, and get a result that goes against all recent form, then relegation to division three for 2015 will be practically guaranteed.

Three things Galway should do for Sunday

1. Pick Paul Conroy at midfield and leave him there. Conroy is the team captain, and a player his teammates look to for leadership and guidance. He was rightly nominated as an All-Star at midfield last season after being immense for Galway in the qualifiers, displaying a terrific range of passing ability. Midfield is his best position, and the role where he can have most influence. By taking him out of midfield and shuffling him around the forwards, what message is being sent out? We have seen him at full-forward a few times in the past and, while he is a relatively effective target man, he does not look like a natural number 14. It is likely to take quite a while to turn things around at this level, but sink or swim, Conroy must be played in his best and most natural position.

2. Start defending at corner forward. The amount of scores that Galway have been conceding is frightening. Apart from Carlow and London (divison four teams ) - they have the worse scoring average in the league at minus 26. They have conceded 5-54 in three games and that has to stop. It is far too simplistic to blame the defence or goalie for those stats. The first line of defence has to be number 15, and work back from there. I was in McHale Park on Sunday and on many occasions the Mayo forwards would just not let the Kerry defenders out with easy ball. A good few times they even turned over possession - such was their intensity and work-rate chasing down ball. Each forward has to see it as their own personal responsibility to try to stop their man making any contribution from an attacking perspective.

3. Keep going to the final whistle. What aggravated many people last weekend was the ease with which Laois won. Nobody is critical of a team that gets defeated by a better outfit, if they have worked to stop it happening. Down are hot favourites to win this Sunday (4/7 ), but the players in maroon have to believe there is a chance of an upset. If the mindset is not right leaving the dressing-room, it is practically impossible to change on the field of play. And a simple motto to focus on is: "We will burst ourselves for the full 70 minutes if we are five points up or five points down."d the role where he can have most influence. By taking him out of midfield and shuffling him around the forwards, what message is being sent out? We have seen him at full-forward a few times in the past and, while he is a relatively effective target man, he does not look like a natural number 14. It is likely to take quite a while to turn things around at this level, but sink or swim, Conroy must be played in his best and most natural position.

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