Galway can grasp chance to get campaign back on track

Galway’s Ciaran Duggan and Mayo’s Diarmuid O'Connor who will both miss Saturday's All-Ireland football qualifier at the Gaelic Grounds due to injury.
Galway’s Ciaran Duggan and Mayo’s Diarmuid O'Connor who will both miss Saturday's All-Ireland football qualifier at the Gaelic Grounds due to injury.

GALWAY senior footballers have a midfield crisis ahead of their crunch All-Ireland qualifier game against their greatest rivals, Mayo at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday (7pm), with all five first-choice midfielders undergoing treatment for injuries this week.

Ciaran Duggan (knee), Cein D’Arcy (hand), Fiontáin Ó Curraoin (hamstring), Tom Flynn and Peter Cooke (both foot) are in a race to be fit and manager Kevin Walsh is praying that at least two of his centre-field quintet will be fit for selection.

“It’s torture at the minute,” stated Walsh. “Cein D’Arcy got a bad hand injury during the week; Ciaran Duggan won’t be returning for this one; Fiontáin Ó Curraoin is nursing a hamstring injury; and Tom Flynn and Peter Cooke are under pressure with foot injuries as well. So, our five midfielders are under pressure. Hopefully, one or two will come through by the end of the week but we’ll see.”

In addition, Moycullen’s Gareth Bradshaw, who got hurt in the Connacht final defeat to Roscommon, did not play in the recent round of club matches while David Wynne has suffered a recurrence of a previous injury. “So, it is not healthy, to be honest, but it is what it is,” stated Walsh.

Given the horrific run of injuries the Tribesmen have had this year, Walsh can justifiably bemoan their ill-fortune. However, he maintained that, previously, there was always sufficient cover for these positions but this recent run has escalated the crisis to a new level.

“When it came to midfield, there was always two lads fit and raring to go but the injuries now put us under a little bit of extra pressure. Look, I would be hoping out of the five, we will get two of them on the field alright. It is just the way it is at the minute.”

At any rate, Connacht finalists Galway must improve dramatically on their second half Connacht final performance if they are to overturn a Mayo outfit that come into this game buoyed by qualifier victories over Down (1-16 to 1-11) and Armagh (2-13 to 1-15).

Walsh noted the three-week break since Galway’s last game has given the management time to rally the troops again. “We have had three weeks and they are mad to go again. That is good in itself.

“They know themselves that the first half against Roscommon was quite good — there are not too many teams that would have gone 10-5 up against Roscommon and given the performance we did — but our second half performance was just not good enough.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.