Diarmuid Connolly: Galway Can Win The All-Ireland
Galway can win the All-Ireland. That’s according to our gaelic football ambassador Diarmuid Connolly who gave his reaction to this weekend.
Galway for Sam?
Padraic Joyce Putting Together Serious Team
Galway recorded a facile 14-point victory over Sligo to win this year’s Connacht Championship. Diarmuid Connolly was impressed by the performance of the Tribesmen and singled a few of their big players out for praise:
“Galway got off to a beautiful start in the Connacht final with 2-07 on the board from their first ten scoring attempts, which is some rate of scoring. Matthew Tierney put in a man of the match performance, Cillian McDaid looked like he was really top of the ground again and they had Dylan McHugh running forward.”
“Galway’s strength in numbers for me is strong and I think we’re going to see this later in the season. Padraic Joyce is putting together a serious, serious team here. They look injury-free with Damien Comer and Shane Walsh also very good against Sligo.”
Half-Forward Line Key To Tribesmen’s Success
Connolly also went on to highlight the Galway half-forward line as the key to this team’s success and the area of the pitch that could be make them hard to deal with for fellow All-Ireland contenders:
“Their half-forward line is their linchpin – Tierney, Walsh and Peter Cooke were immense and drove everything forward for Galway. Sligo have got a tough draw in the All-Ireland series so we may not see much more of them in the Championship – but we’re going to see a lot of this Galway side. They’re rightly up there with the favourites to win it.”
Galway Can Win All-Ireland
For the All-Ireland series Galway will be tasked with a group of the Ulster Final loser (Armagh or Derry), Tyrone and Westmeath. Connolly is backing Padraic Joyce’s men to top that group and potentially land Sam Maguire later this summer for the first time since 2001.
“They have Tyrone, Westmeath and either Derry or Armagh to contend with. Tyrone may be waiting in the long grass for a big scalp, but I expect Galway to top that group. I can see them going far in the Championship this year and they may just sneak an All-Ireland.”
Concern In The Kingdom
Some Positives For Clare Despite Heavy Defeat
Kerry, much like Galway, went into their provincial final outing as heavy favourites. In a similar fashion to the Tribesmen they went on to win the game by 14 points on a scoreline of 5-14 to 0-15 points.
Despite the margin of defeat there were still some positives to take out of the game from a Clare perspective:
“If you score five goals in a game you’re going to win it, but I was impressed with this Clare side who put up 15 scores to Kerry’s 19. Eoin Cleary, Emmet McMahon and Keelan Sexton were all on the scoreboard early enough, but the goals really took the sting out of them.”
Cliffords Outstanding For Kerry
The big news heading into this Munster Final was the passing of Ellen Clifford, mother to Kerry players David and Paudie Clifford. Both David and Paudie put on brilliant displays for their county in the game in what was obviously an emotional time for the two brothers.
“David and Paudie Clifford have an understanding of each other. For David’s first goal, he looked to come short for the ball and Paudie called him to run behind and fed him the perfect pass. Sean O’Shea accepted David’s man of the match award and obviously he has bigger things on his mind at the minute.”
Foley Injury A Massive Concern For The Kingdom
While Kerry did add another Munster Championship to their tally on Sunday they will have left the Gaelic Grounds with serious cause for concern following an injury to one of their most crucial players.
“Kerry ran out convincing winners, but the only worry I’d have is that Jason Foley limped off injured and he’s a big player for them. He drives them forward and I’d be worried about him because there are going to be a lot of games coming week on week – they have Mayo, Cork and probably Louth on the horizon.”
Overall, Connolly was impressed with Kerry’s display against Clare and is backing them to give a good defence of their crown this summer.
“But five goals in a Munster final is impressive and we all know Kerry are building towards a good run at the Sam Maguire.”
For a full breakdown of the race for Sam Maguire check out our All-Ireland Football Odds post.
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