Galway can maintain great record against Derry rivals


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway can maintain great record against Derry rivals Galway can maintain great record against Derry rivals


WITH one majestic kick two weeks ago, the heavy burden, injury issues and mixed fortunes for Galway’s senior footballers were radically eased as a 50th Connacht title created the chance to turn their season around.

Connor Gleeson’s magnificent strike secured a one-point win over Mayo and sends them into the All-Ireland round-robin series against Derry on Saturday (Pearse Stadium, 5:30pm) in the right frame of mind.

A similar victory in the 2022 Connacht quarter-final chartered a path that resulted in an All-Ireland final appearance that July. And while nobody will be getting carried away, it certainly feels much better being a Galway football fan than before that Mayo win.

But they’ll still enter the national stage as underdogs, even if the Oak Leaf County suffered an embarrassing 4-11 to 0-17 reversal to Donegal in the Ulster quarter-final back in April.

Yes, Derry have never beaten Galway in the championship. Four wins, including three All-Ireland semi-finals, stretch back to 1998 with Damien Comer’s 2-2 in Croke Park two years ago being the most recent clash.

But despite their tactical and goalkeeping issues in Celtic Park, Mickey Harte’s team have two trophies this year (McKenna Cup, National League). And they did beat the Tribesmen in Salthill during the league.

A first competitive win over the maroon and white in 14 years was secured thanks to goals from Shane McGuigan, Paul Cassidy and Eoin McEvoy. Galway had two black cards for Kieran Molloy and Sean Mulkerrin even if they were still dealing with an exhausting missing list.

And when the All-Ireland championship draw was made before the Tribesmen’s provincial final, there was an air of trepidation about potentially going against Derry (and Armagh and Westmeath).  Some even dared suggest that conceding to Mayo might make a smoother path to Croker.

Pictured: Galway’s Dylan McHugh is challenged by Derry’s Niall Loughlin during the teams’ National League clash at Pearse Stadium last February

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