IT is still a long shot – but implausible as it might have seemed less than three weeks ago – Galway footballers are still in with a chance of promotion to Division One of the National League as they prepare to embark on the long trip north to take on Armagh on Sunday in the Athletic Grounds (3pm).
Three results must fall into place for this to happen: first and foremost, Galway need to beat Armagh; Derry need to fall to league leaders Westmeath at Celtic Park and Laois must either lose or draw to Wexford at Wexford Park.
In the event of just Galway and Derry tieing on nine points, Galway would go through on the basis of the head-to-head result but if Laois were added in to a three way tie, scoring difference would click in, and then – barring a miracle on Sunday – Alan Mulholland’s charges would be ruled out.
Stranger things have happened in football but until about 4.30 on Sunday, Galway won’t be bothering too much with the permutations – they will though be anxious to put back to back league wins on the 2013 results chart as the championship season edges closer.
Galway’s league campaign has been strewn with inconsistency. There were encouraging segments of play in the wins over Derry, Longford and Wexford while at the other end of the spectrum a hiding inflicted by Laois in Portlaoise sent out a lot of warning signs.
For a large chunk of the first half against Wexford in Pearse Stadium on Sunday week last, there were also distress flares sent out by Galway, but in fairness they did come good in the end, delivering a strong second half performance to win by an eight point margin.
What Galway desperately need is some thread of consistency. The likelihood on Sunday is that Derry will take the second promotion slot, but as Galway get ready to knuckle down to six weeks of preparation for the May 19, Pearse Stadium championship joust with Mayo, a win in Armagh would represent the ideal morale boost.
Galway do have a series of injury niggles, but overall management expect to pick from a pretty full squad, and they will be hoping that under-21 midfielder Fionntáin Ó Curraion comes through the Connacht under-21 final against Roscommon at ‘The Hyde’ on Saturday evening unscathed.
Defenders Joss Moore and Gary Sweeney, as well as midfielder Niall Coleman, are still recovering from hamstring troubles and are rated in the 50:50 category for being passed fit on Sunday. Corner back Colin Forde also suffered an ankle injury while playing with Killererin at the weekend but should be okay.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.