Galway footballers not looking past London

The Galway senior footballers will head to London this weekend knowing they need to produce a solid and tenacious display to get over the home side in Ruislip on Sunday (3pm ).

The key is to hold their nerve if the game becomes a "dog-fight" and show the steel required to eke out a win, if they have to dig one out.

This weekend is about getting a result, regardless of the quality of the performance. A one-point win would do the job, the finest.

Lest you forget, London defeated Sligo last season (1-12 to 0-14 ), and also beat Leitrim after a replay in the Connacht championship to get to the provincial final.

Ironically, the loss of Galway team captain Paul Conroy, who is a key leader in the squad, with a hair-line fracture in his right foot, should ensure there is not one single iota of over-confidence or arrogance in the panel.

There is a Connacht semi-final up for grabs against Sligo for the winners and the Galway players need to be fully focused on the job to ensure their team bus will be heading up the N17 to Markievicz Park in four weeks’ time. They do not want to find themselves dumped unceremoniously into the qualifier draw due to any sense that this an easy fixture. It isn't.

Team manager Alan Mulholland shakes his head when it is suggested this game is the proverbial banana skin for his team.

"No, it is the whole banana," is his reply.

"London have worked really hard over the past few years and they are very difficult to beat in Ruislip. Two years ago [2011] they drew with Mayo over there and it was very tight in extra time too before Mayo won by three points [0-19 to 2-10]. And we know how well they performed last season.

"We will need to produce a very good performance to get over them. Paul [Conroy] is a big loss, but we expect other players to step up and provide the leadership and maturity that will be required on Sunday.

“We will pick our team on Thursday night and we believe we have a squad good enough to do what has to be done this weekend to get the result we want. And while we expect it to be tough, we are going over to win and we know that we have the quality in our squad to do so.

"A lot of our panel have been on the scene for the past few years and, while our training has been a bit disjointed with injuries early in the year, we have targeted our training for the championship and this game."

In the other dugout, London team manager Paul Goggins will be able to call on at least four Galway lads for their team this Sunday.

Goalkeeper Adrian Faherty (Claregalway ), Damien Dunleavy (Kilkerrin/Clonberne ), Paul Geraghty (Glenamaddy ) and Mark Gottsche (Oranmore ) have all played with Galway at different grades.

When London played Cavan last year in Croke Park in their round four qualifier game which they lost by 1-17 to 1-8, Dunleavy lined out at centre-forward and Geraghty, who scored 1-1, spent most of the time on the edge of the square. Gottsche was unavailable through injury.

The Galway team to be selected tonight is likely to feature Manus Breathnach in goal (Tomás Healy is suspended ), Donal O' Neill, Johnny Duane, Gareth Bradshaw and Gary O' Donnell in defence.

At midfield Fiontán Ó Curraoin will probably be partnered by either Greg Higgins or Tomas Flynn or Flynn could be selected at wing-forward.

Up front, the onus of responsibility for posting a match-winning tally will rest with Danny Cummins, Michael Lundy, Shane Walsh, James Kavanagh and perhaps a combination of Eddie Hoare, Sean Armstrong, Michael Martin and Adrian Varley.

London are 11/2 outsiders, with Galway at 1/8.

However, London will have a good bit of support at plus five, in the handicap betting at 6/5. The Handicap draw is 10/1, (five points ).

Verdict: Galway to win by three or four points.


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