Footballers must bounce back to winning ways

The Galway footballers will have to get an early Mass this Sunday morning or have gone on Saturday evening as they face Cavan in Pearse Stadium at the unusual time of 12.45pm as part of an attractive double header with the hurlers who face Cork at 2.30pm.

The footballers will be aiming to bounce back from last Sunday's disappointing 1-17 to 1-16 defeat to Down in Páirc Esler.

That was a game Galway controlled for long periods. However, they were not ruthless enough in front of goal, in the first half in particular, and paid the ultimate price with Down scoring six of the last seven points to win in the fourth minute of injury time, from a free by impressive free-taker Paul Devlin.

It is not hyperbole to state Galway missed in the region of 4-10 from good scoring opportunities last Sunday. And while it was terrific Galway played such expansive and exciting football, they will need to be much more ruthless up front if they are to beat a Cavan side that went down by 2-13 to 0-14 at Kingspan/Breffini Park.

Cavan played 50 minutes of that game with 14 men too as their wing-back Damien O' Reilly was red-carded after only 20 minutes.

Galway team manager Kevin Walsh admitted as much during the week when talking to Advertiser Sport.

"We lacked a bit of ruthlessness when presented with scoring chances against Down. 1-16 was good scoring, but, it was not enough in the end," Walsh said.

"We are totally focussed on the task in hand now, which is to try to produce a very good team performance against Cavan this weekend. Sometimes a team learns more from defeat than from victory and we are expecting a positive reaction on Sunday from the panel.

“We worked extremely hard against Down and played some very good football at times, but, we need to take the chances when they present themselves."

"That is the big lesson that we should have learnt from the loss, and we will try not to let that happen again. We cannot fault anyone for their effort and work-rate. We just need to be more clinical in front of the posts."

Galway will select the team later in the week, but there is an injury worry with Patrick Sweeney who had to come off with a shoulder injury against Down. On the plus side, Paul Conroy came off the bench and enjoyed 30 minutes of action under his belt against Down.

The St James’ player also notched one fine point, and his return is a big boost to team management for the quality of his passing, experience and height, and power.

Conroy can line out at midfield or at full-forward, and with Tom Flynn's absence for the next month or two with his knee injury, it is a big plus the the former captain is back on the scene and able to tog into a starting jersey.

His clubmate Johnny Duane is also back from injury and he is another option in the back six.

I like Duane as a footballer and he has a bit of a cutting edge to him that will be needed in the next few weeks and months.

Cavan will be no pushover this weekend and in big midfielder Gearóid McKiernan, who shot three points from play against Kildare, the experienced Ronan Flanagan, free taker Niall McDermott, who shot six frees agianst the Lillies, and forwards Cian Mackey and Martin Reilly, they have plenty of good players to ask Galway some serious questions.

If Sweeney is unavailable, he will be a big loss, and while I would take Galway to win, it has the makings of a tight game.

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