Defeat not the end of the road for Mayo or Galway, insists Moran
Andy Moran expects Mayo and Galway to have a long summer regardless of the result in Castlebar on Sunday.
The Connacht rivals clash in Elverys MacHale Park at 4.0pm in one of the most eagerly-anticipated early-season clashes in years.
Whoever loses on Sunday will be forced to go through the back door and will have played five games by the time they reach the 'Super 8s' - should they make it that far.
There is a view that another back-door odyssey is not what Mayo need given the amount of football they have played in recent years.
However, Moran believes both sides will make the business end of the championship.
"We are, I suppose, a big talking point every year," he said.
"And every time we lose, people are writing us off. To be honest with you if I see Galway or Mayo losing this game I still see them being involved at some stage during the summer."
"I think it is a big game. I really do. We are really focusing on it, really want to win Connacht, but if it doesn't happen we will just focus on the next game.
"(If) not, we'll go away, we'll analyse the tape, we'll see what we can do and we'll move on."
Galway have beaten their great rivals in the championship twice in the last two seasons and also recorded a league win earlier this year in matches that were notable for their physicality.
But Moran believes they had chances to win last year's game despite the first-half dismissal of Keith Higgins.
"I think Galway are a very physical team. Do I think we struggled to meet their aggression? I think we should have won the game last year in Salthill, so I'd disagree with that.
"This year in the league? Possibly. And what happens, when that happens I suppose, is a small bit of indiscipline kicked into our game which we wouldn't be happy about. But the championship game last year, I think we kind of matched their aggression.
"Keith (Higgins) got sent off early and in the last five minutes of the game we were still in the game and probably should have won it.
"But it's up to us as a group to turn around and match it."
Mayo have named Keith Higgins at corner-back for Sunday's game despite the veteran playing for the county's hurlers in the league.
Stephen Rochford gives a debut to Eoin O'Donoghue in the other corner, while Tribe boss Kevin Walsh has handed championship bows to Seán Andy O'Ceallaigh, Ciaran Duggan and Barry McHugh.
MAYO - D Clarke; E O'Donoghue, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Durcan, C Boyle, S Coen; S O'Shea, T Parsons; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, D O'Connor; C Loftus, C O'Connor, A Moran.
GALWAY - R Lavelle; D Kyne, S A Ó Ceallaigh, E Kerin; G O'Donnell, G Bradshaw, C Sweeney; T Flynn, C Duggan, S Walsh, P Conroy, J Heaney; S Armstrong, D Comer, B McHugh.