Kerry’s clash with Galway could well be a cracker

Victory could see the Kingdom go forward to face Mayo in the National League final next week

Gavin White of Kerry in action against Dylan McHugh of Galway during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final in Croke Park last July Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Damian StackKerryman

Kerry are all but safe. Not 100% safe mind you. Could that be enough to drive them to a first away result this season? Or is it more the case that Kerry won’t want to go an entire campaign without taking some sort of a result on the road?

There’s also the possibility that a win over the Tribesmen could send the Kingdom back to a National League final – if some other results play out in their favour – is that the type of thing that would interest Jack O’Connor?

Probably it would, even if that wasn’t the goal at the beginning of the campaign – very evidently so given how slow out of the trips his side have been – another competitive game ahead of the championship would come in very nicely indeed we would imagine.

As for Galway, how much do they want a place in the final? Do they want to show their hand against Mayo just a handful of weeks before the sides are likely (sorry Roscommon!) to face each other in the Connacht semi-final?

It’s a curious sort of a game in that regard, with all these different potential motivations at play – hell we’ve not even mentioned the fact this is the first time the sides have played since last year’s All Ireland final – but at the back of it all we think it’ll simply be a case of two teams wanting to win a game of football.

Kerry are still kind of scratching around a little for form and Galway, despite being fairly well placed following their victory over Armagh last weekend, are in a similar enough boat. A good, hard test would suit both parties.

That might militate against Jack O’Connor throwing in a Paul Geaney or a Diarmuid O’Connor from the start, despite Gavin White’s star turn on his return to the fold against the Rossies.

We think the Dromid man will go with a fairly strong and familiar combination and he’ll need to as Pádraic Joyce has most of his key players available to him. Seán Kelly, John Daly, Paul Conway, Matthew Tierney, Shane Walsh, their key men are in situ across the pitch.

The sort of football we’ve seen so far in the league has been more prose than poetry and, unfortunately, we should probably expect more of the same in Salthill this weekend

Galway battled by Armagh in the Athletic grounds 1-8 to 1-6. The headline on one report we read of the game described Galway as gritty, there seems to be a lot of that going around at the moment.

Still these are two sides with players who have the capacity to rise above those sorts of dynamics. While it’s unlikely we’ll see another shoot-out between David Clifford and Shane Walsh, the fact we can’t rule it out makes this a must-watch game.

Verdict: Galway


Kerry v Galway

Pearse Stadium, Salthill 1.45pm