Sligo v Galway – Sligo To Saw Galway In Two
Sligo v Galway
After two mediocre enough hurling games, Sky is hoping that this Connacht Championship semi-final can entertain their viewers this weekend.
Recent clashes between these sides have seen my own county, Sligo, have the upper hand. Two years ago 5/1 Sligo travelled to Salthill and put the Tribesmen to the sword courtesy of a five-star performance from Adrian Marren. The Curry clubman hit 2-6 in that 2-14 to 0-15 win, and despite hobbling off in a club game last month, Sligo’s main scorer is named to start. Named too is Tubbercurry’s David Kelly, the lightning fast corner-forward who was central to Sligo’s 2010 replay victory in Markievicz, and was unmarkable in the drawn game in Salthill. Kelly too has been an injury doubt and with those two missing the forward threat would have been workmanlike but very containable from a Galway point of view.
The trinity of injury concerns named to start is completed by Tourlestrane’s Adrian McIntyre. McIntyre, arguably the best club footballer in the county in the last number of championships, will seek to fill the problematic centre-back spot. If he can keep Galway’s Shane Walsh quiet here, and Marren and Kelly are close to full tilt, Sligo have a great chance of adding to their recent record over Galway.
Elsewhere, Shane McManus is named at midfield though he has played little football here under Pat Flanagan. He did shine there in his championship debut against Galway two years ago.
Galway’s short price of 2/5 is likely based on their good showing against Cork in last years Qualifiers (remember Michael Meehan’s cracking goal from the 20 yard free?) and their 3-17 to 0-7 hammering of London in Ruislip. London beat Sligo in last year’s championship, but last year’s Exiles looked immeasurably better than the 2014 edition.
League and Championship are different animals but there is a notable stat from Galway’s and Sligo’s campaigns: Galway didn’t win away from home while Sligo won their three home games. Galway’s league Division 2 started horribly with three losses on the trot, but home wins against Down and Armagh, and a draw away to Louth saw them stay up on score difference.
In fairness, their last round game in Clones saw them fall just short to a Monaghan side that have since shown themselves to be a form side. Sligo stayed up in Division 3 where they had four away games which they lost, and three home games against Limerick, Offaly and Longford.
Galway’s jaunt in London may not be the preparation a young side needs going into Sligo’s fortress. Shane Walsh hit 1-6 against London and provided good ball into Danny Cummins and Michael Martin (not a political leader) to wreak havoc. Michael Breathnach’s Fiontan O’Currain and Athenry’s Tom Flynn were the Under-21 All-Ireland pairing two year’s ago, but they’ll find clean ball hard won with big James Kilcullen contesting.
At 12/5 Sligo look a great bet. Caveats abound though: I’m totally biased, and the injured trio aforementioned need to be right.