Friday 24 January 2020

Massacre leaves Galway in crisis

Galway’s Michael Meehan holds his shoulder after colliding with Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke, before being forced off
Galway’s Michael Meehan holds his shoulder after colliding with Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke, before being forced off
Galway’s Michael Meehan collides with Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

GALWAY may lose some of their players to the USA after an embarrassing 17-point defeat by Mayo in the first round of the Connacht championship.

That's new territory for a county of Galway's football pedigree but such was the sense of despair among home supporters after yesterday's game that they expect the rest of the summer to be a write-off.

Galway suffered their heaviest defeat against Mayo since 1907 and now face a six-week wait for the All-Ireland qualifiers, where they will be competing in the opening round for the first time since the 'back door' opened in 2001.

On previous occasions, their earliest point of entry was the second round, having been beaten in the Connacht semi-final.

It now remains to be seen if some of the younger Galway players head to the US for the summer or stay around and hope to be part of the rebuild which clearly needs to be undertaken.

"I know a lot of the U-21 panel have already made plans to go away. However, the four lads we have (on the senior team) have committed to stay around," said Galway manager Alan Mulholland. "It's an issue with other guys we don't have on the panel."

Presumably, he will be seriously considering drafting in more of the U-21 side that won the All-Ireland title earlier this month after watching his first-string selection swatted aside by Mayo.

"If we can work like that and build on it, we'll be a force to be reckoned with," said Mayo manager James Horan (pictured) after a win which earns them a semi-final clash with Roscommon on June 16.

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He was delighted with the overall fluidity of a team that scored 4-12 from open play.

Mayo's great day was completed by the return of Andy Moran for his first outing since injuring his knee last August. He came on for 10 minutes and scored Mayo's fourth goal in the last minute.

Armagh and Carlow will join Galway in the first round of the qualifiers after losing to Cavan and Westmeath respectively.

Cavan will meet Fermanagh in the Ulster quarter-final after their four-point win over Armagh, while Westmeath booked a Leinster quarter-final date with Dublin on Saturday week after their big win over Carlow.

see pages 2-3

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