THE third and fourth best teams in the country last year go head-to-head, as Galway and Monaghan look to get their National Football League campaigns back on track.
Both sides followed up their opening day victories with disappointing defeats last weekend and will be hoping to avoid second successive League losses when they square-off in Round 3 at Grattan Park, Inniskeen on Sunday (throw-in 2pm).
Monaghan, having toppled the reigning League and All-Ireland champions, Dublin, in January at Clones, came unstuck against a dogged Roscommon outfit in Dr Hyde Park last Sunday.
An injury time penalty converted by Enda Smith gave former Galway hurling manager, Anthony Cunningham’s charges the edge. But the Rossies, with seven first-half wides and denied a goal by a great save from Monaghan ‘keeper Rory Beggan, could have won more comfortably than 1-12 to 0-13.
It really was an injury-time period to forget for Monaghan. Not only did Malachy O’Rourke’s men lose the lead, they lost a key man to a red card, too. Stephen O’Hanlon – a super-sub who scored a crucial goal against Dublin the previous week – is now suspended after receiving his marching orders for an off the ball incident against Roscommon.
The Tribesmen weren’t expected to beat Dublin in their back yard; and a backlash from Jim Gavin’s men, following their first-round loss, was inevitable.
They aren’t as far along in their training at this stage of the campaign, compared with their 2018 unbeaten League run, and they were missing a large number of experienced players, most notably captain Damien Comer (ankle), the one forward in the country who bred fear in the Dublin defence last year.
But even still, Galway will be concerned that they managed to score just two points in the second half as Dublin ran out 1-15 to 0-7 easy winners; the Galway challenge tailing-off in the final quarter.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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