Premier To Send The Tribe Packing
Galway v Tipperary
The second offering on Sky Sports promises to offer the best chance of a close affair with the handicap in the Cork-Sligo opener is 8 points. Priced at 5/6 and 6/5 respectively, a tight encounter is envisaged.
Galway had a comfortable five point win over Sligo and reduced the gap with Mayo from last year’s 17 to seven this time around. Tipp started their campaign with a six point away win over Limerick.
Then Rebel superhero Aidan Walsh vanquished their ‘shock of the decade’ attempt with a late burst, before they annihilated Longford by 17 points and won away to Laois by five.
Rumours are rife that many in the Galway camp aren’t happy, with rumblings about unpaid expenses and other matters. Sean Armstrong was reported to have quit and then re-joined the panel. On top of an earlier cull of panel members for breaching a socialising ban, it would appear that all isn’t Megan Fox in the Galway camp.
They’ve a number of changes with Thomas Healy making his debut between the sticks, Joss Moore comes in at corner-back, with James Kavanagh and Michael Martin coming in up front.
Tipp are unchanged.
Tipp’s centreback, Robbie Kiely, man of the match against Longford, has the task of keeping Shane Walsh quiet. If the Arravale Rovers man succeeds in curbing Walsh’s influence, the spark for much of firepower will be quenched.
While a five point win in Markievicz reads well, the truth is that Sligo weren’t at the races that evening. They offered token resistance that would have resulted in a proper tanking from a really good side.
Against Mayo, Galway were thrown around a bit, and while they kept in touch, they might just as easily have been beaten by 17 again. Lee Keegan was denied a stonewall penalty and Mayo looked to be coasting.
In fairness, Galway’s start to the second half augured well and 0-16 will win most games. The shining lights have been the backbone of the side that delivered an Under-21 title two years ago. O’Currain and Flynn (against Sligo), and Shane Walsh showed they’ve massive ability at senior level.
That Under-21 side enjoyed a semi-final win over hotpots Kildare in this venue (Tullamore) so they’ll have fond memories of O’Connor Park.
Tipp are having a great season. Winning Division 4 was a nice starter, and while they got a sickener with Cork’s Houdini act in Munster, they’ve reacted brilliantly. Longford came to Thurles high on their away win against Derry but left in darkness after a footballing lesson.
Their trouncing of Laois was even more remarkable as it was away, and Laois had performed well against Dublin and enjoyed tight wins over Fermanagh and Wexford. Conor Sweeney, the Limerick game aside, has been in great form on the scoring front and Barry Grogan has been weighing in too.
They are playing with a confidence and movement that will be hard halted. They led Laois by ten at half-time, and while Laois got it back to level, Creedon’s men showed great confidence in kicking on to a five point win. Their full-forward line hit 3-8 against Laois (only two frees), and 1-12 against Longford.
Galway’s fullback line didn’t look too hot against Mayo and the Premier can turn the screw if they can get ball inside. The all-action Peter Acheson can link up well to ensure enough ball gets to Tipp’s inside line and if they display the abandon shown heretofore, Galway will be in bother.
The Galway inside line is also strong with Paul Conroy flanked by the speedy Danny Cummins and the accurate Michael Martin. Over 32 points looks the way to go on the points total.
A high-scoring encounter looks likely given the healthy tallies both sides have managed thus far, but if all isn’t right in the Galway set-up, Tipp will come out the right side.