Footballers look for overdue win in Tralee

Galway footballers are seeking a long overdue victory over the Kingdom when they meet in Austin Stack Park in round four of the National Football league on Sunday (2.30pm ).

Kevin Walsh's team have marked their return to division one of the league with three consecutive victories over Tyrone, Donegal and Mayo, and the team seems to be growing in confidence with every outing.

The maroon defence has been impressive thus far with the likes of Eoghan Kerin, Seán Andy O' Ceallaigh and Declan Kyne doing well in the full-back line, and the side has not conceded a goal in their three league games so far.

The entire team is working well as a defensive unit with all players prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel for the cause and that collective effort has been rewarded with six points from three games.

However, Galway now face another really big test against a county they have not beaten in senior competitive football since 2003. Kerry have won all nine games since then, the most recent in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final when they won by 1-18 to 0-13 at Croke Park.

Losing runs must end

Such gloomy statistics are there to be broken and all losing runs against any county must come to an end at some stage.

The 2018 Galway football panel will be unified in their objective of travelling to Kerry this weekend to get something tangible from the fixture.

It will not be forgotten by them, or the management team, that Kerry were well beaten last season in the championship by Mayo. When they are run at hard, and harried and harassed all over they field, they do not like it.

Monaghan also beat them by two points last weekend, 1-13 to 0-14, and Eamonn Fitzmaurice will have his charges well revved up not to be beaten twice in eight days, especially at home.

The Kerry manager has experimented with a good few new players so far in the league with David Clifford and impressive young free-taker Seán O'Shea being given plenty of game time.

Clifford, who has a massive reputation from his exploits at minor level, came on at half-time last weekend after a recent hamstring injury and made a big impression.

Sunday will be the first time the counties have met in the Allianz Football League since 2011 when Kerry won by 0-16 to 0-8, and Galway are big outsiders to win at 11/4 with the homeside 4/11 with the bookies.

However, if Galway forwards such as team captain Damien Comer, Shane Walsh, Eamon Brannigan and young Seán Kelly, who impressed for NUIG in their Sigerson campaign, can get on enough ball they are well capable of causing plenty of headaches for the home defence.

Galway's midfielders Paul Conroy and Peter Cooke have also been in good form in the three league games and hopefully they can give Galway a real foothold around the middle and be the foundation for what many would see as a surprise win.

Monaghan focused hard on Kerry’s short kick-outs last weekend and they were rewarded for that tactic. They claimed a few points from that approach as receiving defenders found difficulty getting out of defence and were turned over.

Even Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice acknowledged how Monaghan had honed in on their kick-outs and pressed them hard.

"It is something we’ll look at and see can we get it right for next weekend,” he said.

Tactically it will be interesting to see if Galway push up on the Kerry kick-outs or if Kerry go longer with their restarts as they should have their UCD midfielders back from their Sigerson win.

It has the makings of a really intriguing tussle and the Galway supporters who travel to the game will be expecting a hugely competitive performance from their team and hoping for an overdue victory.

The game is live on TG4 and has a 2.30pm throw-in. In the other division one games, Mayo take on Dublin at McHale Park on Saturday evening, Monaghan host Tyrone, and Kildare are away to Donegal.


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