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The Galway senior hurlers are 2/1 outsiders this Sunday to defeat Eamon O' Shea's Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park (4pm).
A critical SSE Airtricity League premier division weekend beckons for Galway United with two vital matches against Bohemians and Drogheda United.
ARTISTIC INTERPRETATIONS of work by Irvine Welsh, Philip Larkin, Dermot Healy, and Nikola Madzirov can be seen on Hertridge's Butchers, Lombard Street; the sides of buildings on Bowling Green; and in Newtownsmith carpark.
Cathal Freeman who will lead Mayo out tomorrow is a player who has seen numerous injuries hamper his attempts to break into the senior fold properly, and only for another injury last year which saw him miss his club's senior championship games made him eligible for this year's junior campaign. "As someone said to me there's benefits to being injured, I've had a topsy turvey couple of years, between everything that's happened," he joked last week. But Freeman is confident that he's well on the road to being injury free and getting back to the top level of the game, adding: "Between breaking bones and tearing muscles, but these things sort themselves out, if I keep doing the right thing and I've got fantastic people looking after me, like Liam Moffatt, Mark Gallagher and Martin McIntyre. If I keep doing the right things and listening to those guys and mind myself properly there'll be no problems at all." Injury also ruled out the Aghamore man from the Connacht final win over Galway back in May.
After last weekend's two mis-matches in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, GAA people are really hoping for some high quality fare this Saturday, when Monaghan take on Tyrone and Connacht champions Mayo face Donegal. The second game is the more attractive fixture by far and following Donegal's 10 point defeat of Galway last weekend, and in particular the way they finished the game, Rory Gallagher's men will feel that they can take down Mayo, as they did in the All-Ireland final of 2012.
The last time he was in action in Croke Park, Lee Keegan was sent off by referee David Coldrick just before the short-whistle. While Keegan was cleared to play in the replay of that semi-final against Kerry it is something that he does not look back on with anger, even if it did probably hamper his preparation for the replay the following week, as a number of days of will he or won't he be allowed to play had to be negotiated before he got the all clear. "Again no blame, that was something I had to take myself and again I'm not someone to point the finger, that was subsquently my own thing. It was mentally draining week, it was very tough leading into a big game. But I had a very strong group of players around me and the management had a good belief that I would be ready for the game on the Saturday, which was a great confidence booster."
Back when Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly took charge of the Mayo u21s for the first time in 2006, Keith Higgins was the man who they entrusted as their leader on the field. When the duo took the reins of the senior team this year it was the Ballyhaunis man they looked to again to be their battlefield commander. Higgins has been one of the finest defenders in the game over the best part of the last decade and he knows despite what others may say about the championship proper only beginning in August, it kicked off in earnest a long time ago. "If you're a Mayo player and you see the draw coming out and you see you've Galway in Salthill, that's where the championship starts no matter how good your record has been the last few years. That's championship stuff and that's what gets you going. You ask the Donegal boys and they'll say the same thing when they'd to play Tyrone in the first round at the end of May. They can't be thinking ahead to August. But August is where you want to be."
For me the championship proper starts tomorrow at Croke Park. What has gone on before is bordering on a joke. Apart from Kildare defeating Cork in a round three qualifier and Cork almost catching Kerry on the hop in the drawn Munster final the rest has been straightforward and in some cases embarrassing. The first year the quarter-finals were introduced the cumulative winning total of the four games was just 11 points, the first two this year yielded a 35 point winning margin for Kerry and Dublin. I have no doubt Kildare would have taken a respectable few points loss to Cork in that qualifier rather than trying to come to terms with that 27 point humiliation at the hands of Kerry last weekend. Who would ever have thought that Kildare footballers would suffer a 19 point and a 27 point hiding from Dublin and Kerry and in the same season knock Cork out? Football has gone crazy.
After last weekend’s two mis-matches in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, GAA people are really hoping for some high quality fare this Saturday, when Monaghan take on Tyrone, and Connacht champions Mayo face Donegal.
The Mayo senior ladies' football team will be looking to pick up the pieces of their heartbreaking loss to Galway in the Connacht final a couple of weeks ago when they take on Tyrone tomorrow in the All Ireland qualifiers series with a place up for grabs in the All Ireland quarter-finals.