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Louise Galvin is back training with Kerry squad ahead of All-Ireland quarter-finals

Expected win over Westmeath should set ladies up for quarter-final against Armagh

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Louise Galvin is back training with the Kerry squad and has four or five training sessions behind her after initially togging out with her club Finuge/St Senans

Louise Galvin is back training with the Kerry squad and has four or five training sessions behind her after initially togging out with her club Finuge/St Senans

Louise Galvin is back training with the Kerry squad and has four or five training sessions behind her after initially togging out with her club Finuge/St Senans

kerryman

TG4 ALL-IRELAND SFC GROUP C ROUND 3

Kerry v Westmeath

Saturday, June 25

Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarrney at 1pm

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Kerry go into their encounter against Westmeath safe in the knowledge that they have already qualified for the quarter-final stage by virtue of their 3-10 to 3-8 opening round victory over Galway nearly a fortnight ago.

With Westmeath suffering a heavy 1-18 to 0-4 defeat to a rampant Galway last weekend, the Midlanders are already out of the qualification race and Galway are through along with Kerry, although who will finish first and second will depend on how Kerry get on against Westmeath next Saturday.

The hiding that Galway inflicted upon Westmeath won’t do their confidence any good and truth be told, Kerry should have a comfortable enough time of it and should be well able to consign the All Ireland Intermediate champions to a relegation fight along with the other teams that finish bottom of their groups.

The fact that Westmeath didn’t get a single score from play against Galway, with their four points coming from Sarah Dillon free kicks, shows the paucity of their attack and also the downward spiral that the team has gone on since claiming their silverware last September.

Losing their winning manager Sean Finnegan last October was a massive blow to the Lake County, although the appointment of the experienced former Roscommon footballer Michael Finneran brought an air of excitement to Westmeath LGFA football circles. Unfortunately for Finneran, things haven’t worked out the way he would have hoped and he brings a Westmeath side to Killarney whose confidence is around their ankles.

Westmeath operated in Division One of the National League this season and shipped heavy 0-15 and 0-28 losses to Galway and Mayo respectively, although they did perform a bit better against Donegal where they lost by just five points. Waterford firmly dumped them in the relegation decider with a 1-17 to 0-7 hiding and Westmeath will be back playing Division Two football later this year.

Westmeath’s biggest problem has been the loss of players, for varying reasons, since they claimed the Intermediate title nine month’s ago. When they lined out against Galway last weekend only Dillon and Tracey Dillon remained from that title winning line up. That sort of quality is impossible to replace in such a short stretch of time and goes a long way to explaining their present woes.

In direct contrast Kerry are very much on an upward trajectory and with the Division Two title secured last April, the team gave further indication that they’re a side hungry for more success with a massive victory over Galway in Round One of the All Ireland series. Although the final score of 3-10 to 3-8 would appear to indicate that it was pretty tight at the end, the reality was that Kerry were the much better side and the concession of two late goals gave a more respectable look to the scoreboard.

Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh was again the shooting star with eight points and led the line well whilst Cáit Lynch and Lorraine Scanlon gave top notch displays around the middle of the field. Add in the youthful exuberance of Danielle O’Leary and massive work rate of Niamh Carmody and you have a green and gold team that is playing with massive confidence.

Anna Galvin has been a sort of an unsung hero for the side as well in the sense that she does a massive amount of unselfish work around the middle of the field, and along with the vastly experienced Emma Costelloe you have a steely presence in the ever important engine room.

Costelloe went into the Galway game with a nagging shoulder injury but she has a clean bill of health once more and is certain to patrol the centre half back berth. Julie O’Sullivan is back after her hip injury and will be itching to get some game time under her belt. Likewise Siofra O’Shea who has had very little time to impress in her two cameo appearances against Cork in the Munster final and against Galway, but she’s bound to be knocking on the door for more game minutes.

O’Shea’s Southern Gaels team mate Rachel Dwyer is another player that could see game time next Saturday. Dwyer went through the temporary loss of form that afflicts all young players but she is reportedly flying in training once more. Competition is certainly heating up in attack and Paris McCarthy, who did really well after being introduced against Galway, will be chomping at the bit to play her part again.

Some interesting news from the Kerry camp is that Louise Galvin is back training with the squad. Galvin had a baby boy last March and wasn’t expected to feature in a Kerry jersey this season but she has four or five training sessions with the team at this stage after initially togging out with her club Finuge/St Senans. Whether Galvin will play a part against Westmeath remains to be seen, but what is certain is that she will have a role to play for Kerry in this years championship.

Overall, Kerry should have too much for this Westmeath team. They will have to treat them with respect, of course, and do a professional job to avoid any potential banana skin but they’ve been down the track long enough now to avoid any slip-ups at this stage.

With one eye on the quarter-final, Group B is really heating up after the top two, Meath and Armagh, drew 0-9 apiece last Sunday. Armagh meet Monaghan this weekend and will be expected to defeat a Farney side that were already hammered 1-13 to 0-1 to Meath.

Meath have a scoring difference of +15 at the top of the table ahead of Armagh, and although the Orchard county will be expected to beat Monaghan, they would have to do so by 16 points to take the top spot. In an Ulster derby this is unlikely, although stranger things have happened in the past.

Barring a monumental and unexpected slip up against Westmeath, it should be a Kerry versus Armagh quarter-final on July 9, but there is plenty of football to be played next weekend before that is a definite.


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