Galway have no other choice only to dust themselves down and go again

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IT’S not where Galway footballers wanted to be, but they have to get on with it now. No time for feeling sorry for themselves; no time to lick their wounds. A frantic-paced championship is hurtling along, and the Tribesmen must regroup in the space of a few days after throwing it away against Armagh last Sunday.

Twelve months ago, Galway ended up in the same place, facing into an All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final that we thought they would avoid. And we know what happened then: losing narrowly to arch-rivals Mayo at Pearse Stadium. A campaign which had been full of promise was suddenly over.

Galway are back in Salthill on Saturday but at least they are not heading into the fixture off the back of a defeat, while their opponents Monaghan don’t carry the same quality as Mayo. Yet, a home victory isn’t a formality and Padraic Joyce’s team also has some demons to banish from 2023.

Back to Markievicz Park. It wasn’t a defeat and Galway were significantly the better team, but they paid a big price for leaving the opposition hanging on. Connor Gleeson and his short kick-outs were in the eye of the storm afterwards, but there were also several clear-cut chances spurned at the other end.

Armagh were held to 1-12 but a goal and three points of that came in a disastrous five-minute spell for Galway. They were in control and the only thing which was up for debate was their likely margin of victory. The supporters in the orange jerseys were subdued. The contest looked over.

In the end, Stefan Campbell’s point four minutes into injury-time handed Galway extra work to do. How are they mentally this week? How are their injuries? How quickly can they leave the stalemate outcome with Armagh behind? How much has that result shaken the players and management?

Of course, Galway have no choice but to channel their frustration and disappointment into a big performance against Monaghan. Thinking any further ahead is out of bounds. A quarter-final against either champions Dublin, Kerry, or resurgent Donegal can wait for another day. The priority on Sunday is getting there.

Reflecting on their draw with Armagh, there is no doubt that Galway possessed a lot more quality in their ranks. Dylan McHugh and John Maher were both inspired, and though injuries have been a persistent shadow over the camp, the Tribesmen remain unbeaten in the championship. Only Dublin and Kerry can say the same thing.

Pictured: Galway half-back Dylan McHugh getting the better of Armagh’s Rian O’Neill during Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Round 3 clash at Markievicz Park.  Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.


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