Galway must be on red alert for key tie


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway must be on red alert for key tie Galway must be on red alert for key tie

THERE is little point in building Monaghan up to something they are not, but their challenge in Saturday’s All-Ireland Preliminary quarter-final at Pearse Stadium (4pm) shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

And judging from the loose talk around Galway this week, the Tribesmen’s passage to the last eight of the championship is seen almost as a done deal. It’s a dangerous backdrop to the fixture.

Apart from Galway having to lift themselves after gifting Armagh a draw at Markievicz Park last Sunday – an outcome which denied them a direct route to the quarter-finals – there is no doubt that Monaghan have turned a corner.

After a terrific victory over Dublin at Croke Park in the National League in late January, Monaghan’s form fell off a cliff, failing to win another game in Division 1 and ending up being relegated.

It brought an end to a decade-long stay in the top-flight for the Farney men who had been living dangerously in relation to their league status over the previous five years, including when relegating Galway in 2021 thanks to a Jack McCarron point in the dying throes of extra-time.

Following their league relegation, Monaghan’s confidence wouldn’t have been great for the Ulster championship, and it was hardly a big surprise when they fell to neighbours Cavan (3-12 to 1-12) in a preliminary round fixture.

Worse was to follow against Kerry in Killarney in their opening round-robin tie of the All-Ireland series. Monaghan only managed two points in the first-half and eventually fell to a heavy 0-24 to 1-11 defeat.

They looked like a team on borrowed time in the championship but rallied to force a draw with Louth in their next outing – a result which ended an eight-match losing run – before a relatively comfortable success over an admittedly average Meath team at the weekend.

Significantly, their manager Vinny Corey said afterwards that it was Monaghan’s first taste of knock-out football this year and it helped to focus them. Remember too, they reached last year’s All-Ireland semi-finals when suffering an honourable loss to Dublin (1-17 to 0-13).

Corey, the former Monaghan defender, also said: “On this day two weeks, there’s going to be just four teams left in the championship – it’s what you do in the next two weeks that counts. And other teams haven’t played a knock championship match yet. We have. We’ve played out first and we won. So, we’ll take that and move on.”

Pictured: Galway manager Padraic Joyce, selector John Concannon and coach Cian O’Neill have a final briefing before their clash with Armagh at Markievicz Park on Sunday. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

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