CONNACHT SFC SEMI-FINAL REPLAY
SLIGO v GALWAY
(Markievicz Park, Tonight 6.0, live TV3)
THIS replay should not be happening. A mightily relieved Joe Kernan knows that -- and ditto Kevin Walsh, for less palatable reasons.
Walsh had yet to announce his Sligo team, although the local grapevine was focusing on the possibility of some tinkering with his attack. Predictably, given his brilliant form, David Kelly was their standout hero in Pearse Stadium but several of his forward colleagues may be looking over their shoulders.
The Galway team has been announced and this time Kernan gambles from the start with Michael Meehan, the resulting reshuffle seeing Joe Bergin move to midfield and Paul Conroy drop out. It was Meehan, sprung from the bench for his first action since March, who won the last-gasp free that led to this replay. Much will depend on Meehan's state of fitness/sharpness because he is central to Galway's summer ambitions; they can't forever rely on Pádraic Joyce to dig them out of a nine-point hole.
There is the possibility that Sligo, having surrendered that massive lead, will be psychologically damaged goods. We're inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, though: Walsh's men are at home, they know this Galway team is eminently beatable ... and they have their own talismanic Meehan, only he goes by the name of Kelly.
ODDS: Sligo 6/5, Draw 15/2, Galway 5/6
SLIGO: Team to be announced.
GALWAY: A Faherty; K Fitzgerald, F Hanley, A Burke; G Bradshaw, D Blake, G O'Donnell; N Coleman, J Bergin; G Sice, S Armstrong, M Clancy; M Meehan, P Joyce, E Concannon.
LEINSTER MFC SEMI-FINAL
LONGFORD v KILDARE
(Pearse Park, Tomorrow 7.0)
NO rest for the Lilywhite teens who, five days after finally killing off Dublin at the third attempt, are back in action. However, while that short turnaround is hardly ideal, it's arguably better than the scenario facing Longford, who have been waiting six weeks to discover their semi-final opponents. Kildare have the players and momentum.