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Galway have something to prove as Mayo are first up

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway have something to prove as Mayo are first up Galway have something to prove as Mayo are first up

By DARREN KELLY

JUST over seven months since their disappointing All-Ireland championship elimination to their Connacht rivals, Galway’s senior footballers get their 2024 season up and running on Sunday when they host Mayo (Pearse Stadium, 1:45pm) in the National League.

The green and red proved frustrating opponents for the Tribesmen over the last 12 months with three fixtures not producing a victory for Padraic Joyce’s men. Indeed, they began the spring competition in 2023 with a 2-8 to 1-11 draw.

Both sides came together in the National League final with seven Ryan O’Donoghue points giving Mayo a 0-14 to 0-11 victory in Croke Park. And even though they avoided each other in the Connacht championship, both teams clashed again in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.

It was a sour finish for both teams even though Mayo carried the day by 1-10 to 0-12 in Pearse Stadium thanks to David McBrien’s goal. Both had been talked about as All-Ireland contenders before losing their third round group games and missing the direct path to the final eight.

In Galway’s case, Armagh avenged their 2022 quarter-final defeat. Mayo were on course for group victory after beating Kerry before Cork unravelled their plans. Even though they did make the quarter-finals, they offered little resistance to Dublin.

“It was disappointing just the way it worked out,” stated Damien Comer during the week. “Our season was going well until the Armagh game and it turned a little bit.

“The way it happened and the way we performed in the last game was disappointing overall. That’s why everyone’s very eager to get back on the road again and try to rectify it.”

One may be quick to point out that both counties have seen action already this year. But the dwindling importance of the FBD League in the condensed calendar, especially in Galway’s case, has never stood out more.

Pictured: Galway take on reigning National Football League champions Mayo in the opening round of Division One at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo shows Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor and Galway’s Damien Comer at the launch of the competition this week.  Photo: INPHO/Dan Sheridan.

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