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O'Mahony: Galway test

O'Mahony: Galway test

O'Mahony: Galway test

AS Roscommon's latest dirty linen-washing episode continues to rumble on, their big Connacht rivals, Galway and Mayo prepare to turn their backs on the rest of the football world for a private arm-wrestle in Castlebar on Sunday.

It's a rehearsal for what is likely to be the Connacht final pairing on July 13 as both Galway and Mayo continue to power up through the gears. Galway accelerated from the pits quicker than their opponents to cruise to the top of the Division 1 table, but after an initial backfire Mayo have gathered impressive momentum.

They beat Kerry and Kildare in their last two games, the latter by six points after trailing by six early on. They are now the top scorers in the group, an encouraging sign to take into a game against a Galway defence that has had its solidity questioned.

However, Galway came good last Sunday, when they succeeded in not conceding a goal for the first time in five League games. And with the forwards hitting Derry for three goals, the overall performance pleased new manager, Liam Sammon.

However, neither he nor Mayo's John O'Mahony will be reading too much into what happens next Sunday.

"We beat Galway in the League semi-final last year and they came back and hammered us in the championship. That's Mayo v Galway for you -- always has been and always will. We are still in a position where we could be relegated so we know what we have to do in the final games," said O'Mahony.

He was rightly pleased with the improved form shown in the last two games, although he felt they deserved more from their earlier games too.

"They have been giving a very honest effort and I'm sure the sight of the Galway jersey will add even more spice to it," said O'Mahony, who guided Galway to two All-Ireland successes in 1998 and 2001.

Sammon, a man who experienced dozens of Galway-Mayo games during his long playing career, is happy with the positive manner in which his squad have started the season but warns they still have a lot to do in this League if they are to reach the League final as their two remaining opponents are Mayo and Kerry.

He is, of course, keeping a watching brief on the situation in Roscommon, who are due to play Galway in the championship on May 18.

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"They might have problems now but we know from experience what they can be like in the championship. They have good footballers which always gives them a chance against any opposition," he said.

Sammon plans to give Paul Doherty an outing in goal on Sunday, while Sean Armstrong and Gareth Bradshaw are also carrying injuries. Trevor Mortimer is the latest to join Mayo's injury list.

Meanwhile, it's unclear if Ciaran McDonald will rejoin the panel. He hasn't been available for games involving players outside the League panel but may yet make a return. James Nallen has taken part in those games.

"We'll be reviewing the panel after the League and we'll see what the situation is with all the players at that stage," said O'Mahony.


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