Footballers must beat Cavan for promotion to division one

The Galway footballers will head to Kingspan Breffni Park this Sunday for a 2pm throw-in knowing exactly what is required of them.

Beat Cavan and they will play division one football next season, and face Tyrone in a league final on Sunday April 24 in Croke Park. Draw, or lose, and they will stay in division two for the 2017 season.

The stakes are high and after too many years in division two there is no doubt the entire panel and the management team would like to check out what it would be like to play in the top echelons of intercounty football for a year at least.

Playing the top seven teams in the country would be a good learning opportunity for the Galway footballers involved in the panel next season.

However, Terry Hyland and the Cavan footballers will be all guns blazing in three days' time to try to make sure is their county that jumps a division alongside Mickey Harte's Tyrone.

Hyland has done a lot of good work in his tenure as manager at various grades in Cavan and he has brought a lot of young players into his current squad.

Seven of the current team are only 22 and Hyland has high hopes that they will mature into top level footballers. He is also hopeful of attaining promotion on Sunday.

"Promotion is very important for us. We have been building for the last three or four years and we have a young enough squad to go up. We have lads who are young and we hope and believe they will be fit to compete with the teams in division one, but we have to get there first. Everyone wants to better themselves, wants to play against the best, and that is what we hope to achieve."

Cavan favourites on Sunday

Cavan are rightly favourites to beat Galway this weekend after four solid wins over Meath, Armagh, Fermanagh and Laois, and they have home advantage.

They will look to Gearóid McKiernan, David Givney, Killian Clarke and the in-form Seanie Johnston to power them into division one.

However Galway's Kevin Walsh will tell his players to believe in themselves and that they are well capable of springing a "mini-shock" in Breffni Park.

Galway need to be ruthless in front of goal

While the footballers have battled well in their draws with Meath, Armagh and Fermanagh there needs to be more consistency in their overall play and the entire team needs be more ruthless in front of goal.

Chances have to be converted at the top level and it was easy to count back at least four or five gilt-edged chances that were not taken last Sunday.

Centre-forward Eddie Hoare hit a horrible wide from an easy free just before half time, and both wing-back Liam Silke and Paul Conroy scorned good scoring opportunities.

Danny Cummins, who impressed on his introduction, really should have raised a green flag with the goal at his mercy when he pointed after good work from the industrious Gary Sice.

However some of the frees Mayo's Jerome Henry gave against Galway defenders in the last quarter of the game were of the - "what was that for variety?" - with the diminutive corner forward Tomás Corrigan fortunate to get a few scorable ones.

Henry's view seemed to be that any contact from a Galway defender merited a free for the Fermanagh attacker.

Blaming a referee is folly though, and the Galway players from the goalkeeper out will know if they play like they did against Fermanagh last weekend they will be beaten by Cavan.

For Galway to get the win they need for promotion they will need some colossal displays and huge leadership and gusto for the scrimmage all over the field. They will need to produce a far more polished, high-paced and consistent 70 minutes than we have seen in their past few outings.

That said, if we thought Galway would be one win from promotion going into the final round of the league last February, we would have said we'll take our chances with that.

Most pundits in next Sunday morning's papers will be going for a home win for Cavan which is understandable. However, if Shane Walsh is back from injury and Damien Comer and Gary Sice can maintain their good form up front, allied to some direct play from Patrick Sweeney, Danny Cummins and Eamon Brannigan, who all did well when introduced last weekend, and we get a bit more composure when in possession, then there is a chance of springing a surprise.

The reward for the victors is huge and Galway need a performance to match the prize.


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