Galway game fast approaching

Image: @MayoGAA

It’s already Wednesday evening and the time’s ticking down quickly towards our first competitive inter-county match since early March. It all still has an air of unreality about it – not least in light of the fact that today’s daily Covid numbers were the highest since the pandemic hit – but, as the saying goes, it is what it is.

Galway’s team announcement last night – details here – had an unreal kind of feel to it too. Nine changes from the Tribesmen’s most recent League outing, against Meath back in March, and much being made about the impact that the virus has had on player availability.

It’s still a strong enough team, however, and with Damien Comer on media duties only last week saying that the long hiatus since March has enabled him to get back to full fitness, I’d say there’s a strong possibility he’ll start, even though he’s not named in the first fifteen.

While Galway don’t need to win this game in the way we patently do, they won’t be going out of their way to lose it either. Not with the possibility of the two counties clashing again – this time in a Connacht decider – a month from now. Mind you, the other teams within the province, notably champions Roscommon, will have something to say about such a possible rematch.

Padraic Joyce will definitely be looking to get one over James Horan, aiming to continue the head-to-head hegemony between the teams that the oft-maligned Kevin Walsh achieved, following a run of several years when we got used to beating Galway for fun.

Up until that shock Connacht semi-final defeat to them in 2016, the most recent time Galway had beaten us in the province was way back in 2008. Championship was the only time we met them in those days too, as they’d been relegated from Division One in 2011 and weren’t showing any great signs of getting back to the top tier.

But that 2016 result changed everything. Galway got promoted the following spring, then beat us in Connacht again that summer, went on to beat us in both League and Championship in 2018 and in the League in 2019.

We didn’t get to meet them in Connacht last summer, as we tripped up against Roscommon in the semi-final. We finally ended that five-match losing streak to them last summer, though, when we came out on top in the Round 4 qualifier meeting down in Limerick, dispatching them from the Championship and propelling ourselves into the Super 8s.

That win should, you might have thought, give us confidence going into Sunday. Since the start of this year, though, Galway have enjoyed a great spell under new manager Padraic Joyce. Top of the table after five rounds, Joyce’s Galway already had one foot in the League final before the Coronavirus struck.

Defending NFL champions we may have been but we had a spring to forget. A jammy draw against Donegal and a hard-fought win against a rather limited Meath provided the only tangible reward for us from five League outings.

An utterly predictable loss to Dublin (albeit in a game that went away from us following the harsh early dismissal of Jordan Flynn), a bad hiding away to Monaghan and a narrow game-of-two-halves defeat to Kerry meant that when the virus struck in March we were second from bottom and staring down the barrel, with relegation a real and very likely danger.

We’ve been here before, of course, many times, in fact, in recent years. Indeed, Sunday’s match bears a marked similarity to our Round 6 trip to Hyde Park in 2016 to face Kevin McStay’s high-flying Rossies, where a win for the home side would have sent us down that afternoon. We won that mud-splattered contest in fine style, however, and then beat Down in the final round to avoid demotion.

Until we see what kind of team we’re putting out for Sunday – and see, as well, exactly what team Galway choose to field on the day – it’s very hard to see how this one will go. Nothing for it, then, but to finish up by chucking out a poll on it, to test the waters on Sunday’s contest.

How will we do against Galway on Sunday?

  • Win (67%, 403 Votes)
  • Lose (27%, 163 Votes)
  • Draw (6%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 602

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52 thoughts on “Galway game fast approaching

  1. The bookies have flipped flopped since Monday , it was Galway 4/6 Mayo 13/8 . yet today they are betting 11/8 Galway and 4/5 Mayo someone thinks they know something

  2. Grounds for confidence in James Horan’s record v Galway as a manager is very good. We couldn’t lose to them in his first stint as manager, couldn’t beat them from 2016 until the return of James and that rather enjoyable victory over them in Limerick, so here’s hoping for Sunday.

  3. I know iv spoke about this covid situation for the last six months, but after this evenings announcement by government i think its time for Croke Park to get their house in order and think about the welfare of all people involved and call a halt to the idea off competitions this year. At least Mayo Co Board got their house in order.

  4. Finish u20 only 4 counties involved and only 3 games. Try to play senior but forget u17. Instead play it next year as u18. Lads still get the opportunity to play county minor and minor restored to most appropriate age u18. The change to u17 didn’t work lads too young

  5. The whole wexford hurling panel had to be tested earlier this evening after one of the players got a positive result. I hope the games go ahead myself. It would be such an anti climax to cancel everything again.

  6. Really looking forward to seeing some football Sunday. But would be looking forward just as much to archive footage of previous games if it was on instead and had crowds atmosphere and not give me this nagging thought in the back of my head that this is wrong .

  7. Scrap the leagues imo. Try to play championship. As much as we all love sports, welfare of players comes first.

  8. I have a lot of sympathy for the views expressed by John Heslin. How many of the players are actually comfortable playing under these conditions? Is the risk to their health worth it at this moment in time?

    I don’t think so.

  9. The GPA have asked all players if they want to play games this year…
    I’d say the Gaa will make their call on this response.
    Honestly.. I think all games could be cancelled before the weekend…

  10. The GPA asking the players if they want to play or not on the week that the games are resuming is a bit late – pity they didn’t do this earlier. All this uncertainty. I think the safety of players, backroom staff, etc, should be the priority not entertaining the rest of us. And what about Fermanagh having to travel to Clare – the request to postpone game turned down by the croke park despite the number of covid cases in the panel. No consideration given to the situation the county finds itself in.

  11. I would interpret Simon Coveney’s remarks positively. He was really saying no club activity, and pointing to the likelihood of well-managed inter-county games going ahead.

    Of course nothing is certain in these uncertain times.

  12. Paul Reid, HSE CEO tweeted this morning that hospitalisations are down from 234 to 214 and ICU has been steady for some time now. It must also be said that the death rate is still low (it goes without saying any death from any illness is a tragedy).

    The rate of testing now is far far higher than it was in April/May. My point being that the case numbers now should not be compared to then…hospitalisations and death rates is what should be compared and they are doing ok at the moment. Everyone has their own opinions on this but my own is that the season should absolutely go ahead safely with the appropriate protocols followed to a tee.

    The positive impact this will have on the mental health of so many over the winter months cannot be underestimated.

  13. Just my point of view. But i love this blog as its always well marshalled and well informed on all things GAA. But i feel i cant get away from covid its on every paper, tv channel, radio station and now i feel the same people keeps wanting to bring it back to covid on this GAA blog and in doing so ruining my anticipation and excitement for this sundays game. I feel we need to trust our county board and croke park that the measures are in place to keep our county footballers safe. i dont mean to affend anyone on this blog but i just want to hear your informed views on this sundays game. just my opinion.

  14. There is divided opinion on whether this game should go ahead or not,and as this will be decided upon by others I don’t see any point in making any comment on it.
    What I do think is it it a great opportunity to put those Galway boys back in their box and serve a warning for the Connacht championship further down the road, and taking into consideration the time of year, weather, and the fact it is played in Tuam I would go for a very strong physicial footballing team particularly against their backs as this is an area where Galway seem to be a bit threadbare.
    Let’s go back to James first period in charge when we could steamroll through them and select a team to do the job regardless of McGuinnes s or any other publicity stunt that they use.

  15. Agreed with everything you said above Rocky.
    I, for one, wont make any more c*vid related posts after this, football chat only

    The football will be a great distraction over what promises to be a long grim winter, i know there are lots of people only too giddy to stick the boot in on GAA after last few weeks but as far as i can tell the competitions and games themselves were run with the right level of caution and rule adherence, certainly any games i played in the rules were always strictly observed, few small things like not being able to to shower after the game but was just happy to be playing. GAA and the respective county boards deserve praise for getting competitions completed with no big impact on spreading.
    Unfortunately its the county final celebrations which have been the big faultline and there isnt much can be done there by the GAA once its away from gaa grounds.

    Anyways on to the football, when can we expect a team announcement.
    I know its a game that we need to win but would like to see some experimentation and in form players get the nod, as long as we keep the spine of the team strong we should have enough to get past what is, lets face it, a reserve galway team

    Is it true Peter naughton is togging with sligo?

  16. WHY is all this talk about calling off the gaa games two days before the games,it is easy to justify playing the games and it is also easy to justify calling off the games. the government and the gaa decided the games were to go ahead and that should be it.i am sick of all this mind changing.LETS PLAY THE GAMES. I HAVE GREAT HOPES FOR MAYO THIS SEASON AND FULLY EXPECT THEM TO BEAT GALWAY ON SUNDAY

  17. Who do we need to be shouting for this weekend?
    Mayo have to take care of their own business.
    Seems to me that if Donegal beat Tyrone
    and we get them the following week in Mchale, then we should stay up with possible 7 pts.
    Wishful thinking with all thats going on.

  18. Jimbo – in light of the current spread of the virus would you be happy to play with the county team this weekend if you had a vulnerable parent at home.
    Looks like Croke Park have no respect for player welfare if they let the games go ahead this weekend. At least 30 teams travelling all over the country is one sure way to continue to spread the virus. Even the professional soccer and rugby teams cant stop the virus from spreading within their own cocoons.

  19. Bit of perspective needed here, I would think the GAA will have given some protocol on testing as its a short championship could not all panel players and Mgmt etc. be tested once a week ? anyone testing positive normal rules then apply and for anyone that is a close contact of a case follow the normal isolation rules there also. Some counties will obviously be more effaced than others on game day selection but that will just have to be accepted. I was also in the camp all should be cancelled but once I thought about it a bit it can be done. Also remember proper testing and tracing are the main tools to fighting the spread of this so the protocols in place are key here. The players also are very low risk in terms of effect so player welfare shouldn’t be an issue.

    I do think in Nov/Dec this will be a welcome distraction across the Country and the Government knows that – its an outlet society will need…my tuppence worth anyway…

  20. South Mayo Exile, If Wexford GAA had not had all its players tested six of them would be going around , presumably Wexford, spreading the virus. Because they are playing either hurling or football, and only because they are playing, they were tested, identified as positive and are presumably out of the picture as far as spreading the disease is concerned. So well done GAA. Can we have more of the same, please.

  21. Lads and Ladies, a very simple solution for any County not willing to play games, if some players are out with the Virus, just pull out completely.
    If I was in charge I would make sure the following would be done starting from 12am tonight.
    Cancel ALL games AND training at all Levels.
    Close Schools from Monday next that would give at least 2 weeks off including Halloween midterm break.
    It is only an Amateur game.

  22. John Oriain,
    Robert Finnerty may well be Anthony’s son but he is himself a Galway man. Just as the O’Shea’s of Breaffy are Mayomen, not Kerrymen. So get over it

  23. I think the league will be finished out….the championship though is likely to be cancelled in my opinion.

  24. AndyD, what was/is Declan D’arcy? Conor Cox? Larry Tomkins? Is BJP half an Armaghman now?

    I can understand John Oriain’s sentiments. Galway football benefits a lot from Mayo. So many Galway players over the years with Mayo parents…yes, it’s gone the other way but far, far less. I’ve always thought ‘Mayo GAA’ should have sought to have done more to entice or attract talented youngsters in Galway to declare for Mayo. Rob Finnerty being a prime example. Maybe now with greater agile working (one benefit to come from Covid) people from Mayo can now settle in the county but still be able to follow their desired career path. It could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for rural Ireland generally and stop the exodus to the cities.

    Anyway. I suppose you play for where your heart lies or at least you should do for the bulk of your playing years….Unless you’re Seanie Johnston!;)

  25. The Basquel’s in Dublin. Another example of lads who imo should have declared for Mayo. Tonnes of cousins still in Aughagower…deep roots in Mayo. 1st gen Dubs.

  26. Tend to agree with you yew tree – I can see the championship being cancelled.
    Certainly there will be no choice in the matter if the country goes to level 5, which seems inevitable at this moment in time.
    Anyone who knows Rob Finnerty knows that declaring for Mayo was never an option 🙂
    As staunch a Galway man as you’d meet.
    Two of yere finest of recent times Keith Higgins and Colm Boyle to name 2 off the top of my head have Galway lineage too (a Mountbellew dad and a Cortoon mum).
    Such a small country sure it happens everywhere.

    But to get back to my original point – I really fear the worst for this championship.

  27. @Gaels abroad. Not sure if that is recent news . I remember seeing something about that a few weeks ago ..

  28. John Oriain – I haven’t suggested otherwise. I merely used 2 examples to highlight that it works both ways & happens everywhere. It’s irrelevant.

  29. I see Jason Sherlock was responding, during the week, to Eamon Fitzmaurice’s name-checking of him in relation to his ‘running’ activities for Jim Gavin when he regularly clogged up the space during kicks out. Fitzy also name-checked Tony McEntee during his Mayo days, laying into him I must say.

    Perhaps Fitzy could take out the video recorder and name-check some of his own. I suggest a few matches in particular he could focus on:

    * AIF against Donegal in 2014
    * SF replay in Limerick against Mayo 2014
    * League match in Castlebar against Mayo 2018

  30. With the latest recommendation from NPHET about a move to Level 5 I’m finding it difficult to look forward to this game or discuss it in any meaningful sense, can only imagine what it’s like for players and officials. The air of uncertainty around the restart is almost stifling.

  31. Gaels Abroad, that link you posted is from last March. It has no relevance to what may or may not be happening in the Ballyhaunis camp

  32. All of the runners from all teams that are going around the pitch should be dramatically reduced from the field of play. We really don’t need any of these people on the field of play during games. Something that has crept into the game more and more in recent years. What about the galway hurling runner who intercepted a free and prevented a scoring opportunity for Kilkenny Last year? Farcical stuff.

  33. Mayonaze,
    To answer your question, Declan Darcy is the Dublin born son of an Aghawillan man who played his football from U16 [or U14] in Leitrim and transferred to Dublin when the Leitrim team of the 1990’s ran out of road. I don’t think he played any underage football in Dublin. Conor Cox is the son of a Roscommon man who transferred to Rosc under the parentage rule when he realised he was not going to make the Kerry team. Larry Tompkins was a Kildare player who fell out with Kildare, emigrated to NY for some years and returned to work in Cork and played with them. BJP is, I understand, married to an Armagh woman so I suppose, like most married men in similar circumstances, he is half an Armagh man. Probably any sons [or daughters] will be Armagh people. I think that most people born to exiles tend to be staunch supporters of their county of birth as an expression of independence from their parents, and as a response to pressure from schoolmates & desire to fit in.
    In the soccer world we see that most sons of Irish parents in UK choose to play for England etc, if they can make that team. If not, they may choose Ireland.
    Re the Basquels in Dublin, as they did not / have not made the Dublin team why are they such a great loss to Mayo?

  34. @Supermac, wouldn’t think paperwork processed in time for Peter play this year (if there is a season this year)

  35. I see mayo team is listed on facebook.
    No knockmore played selected to start
    Interesting team
    A lot of young players getting the start.

  36. John Oriain – I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as a new contributor but it’s now clear to me that your main aim in posting here is to annoy other people. This isn’t Facebook so best head back there if it’s that kind of shite that rocks your boat. There’s no place for that antagonistic nonsense here.

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