Sunday 18 August 2019

'It promises to be a cracker down in Limerick' - Roscommon's Enda Smith says Galway could have edge on Mayo

Roscommon’s Enda Smith, pictured with the Sam Maguire on the shores of Lough Muckno near Castleblayney, is looking forward to Mayo's All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Galway on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile
Roscommon’s Enda Smith, pictured with the Sam Maguire on the shores of Lough Muckno near Castleblayney, is looking forward to Mayo's All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Galway on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Seán McGoldrick

Being drawn against arch rivals Mayo in the All-Ireland qualifiers will help Galway recovery from the hangover of losing their provincial title, according to Roscommon vice-captain Enda Smith.

Smith believes that the Tribesmen could have the edge over James Horan's side in their Round 4 showdown on Saturday night due to Mayo's growing injury list.

Although it remains to be confirmed, that odds are stacked against former Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan and Jason Doherty recovering in time to face Galway.

Speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland championship in Scotstown GAA club in County Monaghan, Smith said he was a premonition on Sunday night that the two Connacht sides would be pitted against each other.

Ironically, it was former Roscommon boss and ex-Mayo player Kevin McStay who made the draw on RTE's Ireland Morning on Monday.

"I had in my head that it might happen. I said it to a few lads on Sunday night that they might draw each other and lo and behold it happened. It is an interesting one," he said.

"Obviously coming off a Connacht final defeat Galway would have been very disappointed. It is hard to get going again after losing a provincial final. But facing Mayo will get them back on side.

"Galway have had the Indian sign on Mayo in recent seasons, even in the FBD League. Mayo also have lot of injuries with Lee Keegan and Jason Doherty apparently struggling this weekend. Diarmuid O'Connor and a few others are already ruled out so it be tough.

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"But I wouldn't write Mayo off. It promises to be a cracker down in Limerick," added Smith.

Even though Roscommon made the Super 8s last year despite losing the Connacht final to Galway, Smith said they found it very tough to lift themselves after losing to the Tribemen. They beat Armagh in Round 8 to make the last eight where they lost all three games.

"It is not easy to get ourselves going after a loss like that. In Galway's case the manner of it would be a factor as well. They were up at half time and would have been confident of kicking on in the second half but it didn't happen," he said.

Meanwhile, Smith has welcomed the tweak in the format of the Super 8s which sees the provincial champions being rewarded with a home game in the first round.

"Had the rules not changed our first game would have been against Dublin in Croke Park which would have been very tough," he said.

"It is a massive boost to have your first game at home. Having said that it will still be tough for us against either Tyrone or Cavan as both played in Division 1 this year."

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