Improving Galway are worthy Connacht champions

The footballers from Galway defeated Roscommon easily on Sunday afternoon in McHale Park in the Connacht final, winning by 3-16 to 0-14.

It is the Tribesmen's first provincial success since 20008 and a first under Kevin Walsh's management.

Indeed things could have been far worse for a disjointed and disorganised Roscommon outfit which was 2-09 to 0-3 behind after only 30 minutes of play. Their players looked slightly shell-shocked as their dreams of a first provincial success since 2010 faded.

Walsh's men understandably took their foot off the gas in the second half and the game petered out totally in the last quarter with large numbers of disappointed Roscommon supporters heading for the exits as heavy showers of rain fell.

Galway will now face one of the four A qualifiers - Clare, Derry or Tipperary - they will not face Roscommon if they beat Clare on Saturday - in the All-Ireland quarter-final on Sunday week, giving them a realistic opportunity of reaching an All-Ireland semi-final for the first time since 2001.

Roscommon must dust themselves down. Kevin McStay and Fergal O'Donnell have a big job to do to have their troops ready for a tough assignment with Clare in Pearse Stadium this Saturday (3pm ). A defeat would see a season that had started so well unravel badly in the space of a week.

Clare are on the back of a good win last weekend over Sligo, and their manager Colm Collins has his team moving well and playing with a lot of belief.

Roscommon will have it all to do to beat them and they must approach the game in the right frame of mind or they will find themselves in trouble from the throw-in.

Galway in Croke Park on Sunday July 31

Galway supporters will travel with hope and expectation to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in Croke Park on Sunday week as the team seeks to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 15 years - and a first win at the venue in that time frame too.

Based on last Sunday's win the team is improving incrementally, and with the right preparation and attitude over the next 10 days, they are well capable of producing a quality performance that will see them able to get the display and the result they want.

Last weekend the team's forwards really lit up the stadium with Damien Comer, Danny Cummins, Gary Sice and Shane Walsh really impressing. Cummins took his two goals superbly, as did Sice with a rocket of a shot, and Comer was like a wrecking ball on the Roscommon full-back line.

The terrific work and aerial dominance of Paul Conroy at midfield was the foundation rock of the possession that Galway garnered in the first quarter which got them off to such a good start and set up the win. Defensively Galway were well served by the half-back line of team captain Gary O'Donnell, Liam Silke and Gareth Bradshaw who had a fine game.

Corner back Eoghan Kerin kicked a lovely point early on and Declan Kyne continues to shine brightly in the number three jersey.

His strength in close contact with the opposition is very impressive and his bravery and tenacity have become a real rallying call for the whole team and the supporters.

Long may it continue.

Mayo should qualify

Mayo have a nice draw in the four B qualifiers and they will face Westmeath on Saturday week in Croke Park. Stephen Rochford's side are on the back of two good wins over Fermanagh and Kildare, and with a few players coming back from injury, a good bit of momentum and confidence back in the squad, it is very difficult to see Westmeath stopping them.

The winners of that tie and the winners of Cork and Donegal will face either Tyrone or Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. And if Donegal and Mayo win, then it would set up a Tyrone and Mayo clash which would be a game to savour.

It is all to play for at this stage. What odds for a Galway and Mayo All-Ireland semi-final?



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