Wednesday 15 August 2018

14 and counting: Galway the latest to try topple the Dubs as Tribe seek to end 84-year losing streak


Damien Comer of Galway makes a break from Emmet O'Conghaile, left, and James McCarthy of Dublin
Damien Comer of Galway makes a break from Emmet O'Conghaile, left, and James McCarthy of Dublin
Monaghan's Dessie Mone. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Fourteen counties have tried - several more than once - and all have failed.

Now it's Galway turn to try to become the first team to beat Dublin in the football championship since 2014 when they take on Jim Gavin's All-Ireland four-in-a-row contenders in the semi-final in Croke Park today (5.0).

It's the tallest of orders for Galway, who haven't beaten Dublin in the championship for 84 years and who go into this game off an eight-point defeat by Monaghan last Saturday.

It was only their second defeat of the season, but its timing could not have been worse as it sparked doubts over whether they had lost form just ahead of their most important game so far.

And with Dublin seeking to extend their unbeaten championship run to 27 games and take a step closer to becoming the first team from the county to win the four-in-a-row, Galway supporters will travel more in hope than confidence.

Mayo (5 times), Westmeath (3), Kerry (2), Tyrone (2), Donegal (2), Kildare (2), Longford (2), Laois (2), Monaghan (1), Meath (1), Roscommon (1), Fermanagh (1), Carlow (1) and Wicklow (1) have all failed to beat Dublin since their last defeat by Donegal in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final.

Mayo drew with them in the 2015 semi-final and 2016 final, but otherwise it was 24 wins for Dublin, who drew with Galway in Round 6 of this year's Allianz League before beating them by four points in the final.

This will be Galway's first semi-final appearance since 2001, which was also the last year they won the title.

The game will be preceded by the Galway v Meath minor semi-final (3.0).

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Monaghan will be bidding to reach the All-Ireland final for the first time since 1930 when they face Tyrone in the second semi-final tomorrow (3.30).

Malachy O'Rourke's men have already beaten Tyrone in the league and Ulster Championship this year.

Despite this and their impressive win over Galway last Saturday, the Farney men are outsiders against opposition who are eager to make amends for their dismal showing in last year's semi-final against Dublin.

O'Rourke last night made a surprise inclusion to his starting 15 by recalling veteran defender Dessie Mone. The Clontibret stalwart has been named in attack to replace Conor McCarthy, who drops to the bench, but it's unlikely that he will operate at left half-forward where he has been named.

Mone, who replaced Karl O'Connell in the closing stages of the win over Galway, is likely to be handed a shadowing role on either Tiernan McCann or Peter Harte.

Tyrone - who will be playing their ninth championship game of the summer - are bidding to reach the final for the first time since 2008.

The game will be preceded by the minor semi-final between Kerry and Monaghan.

Kerry are attempting to win the minor title for a fifth successive time this year, while Monaghan are seeking to reach the final for the first time since 1939.

Elsewhere, it was announced that John Sugrue will continue as Laois football manager for another 12 months. The Kerry native made a bright start this year - guiding the O'Moore County to promotion from Division 4 and a Leinster SFC final defeat to Dublin.

Irish Independent

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