Thursday 14 December 2017

Peter Canavan: Buoyant Galway to see off depleted Rossies

Roscommon's Neil Collins. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Roscommon's Neil Collins. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Peter Canavan

Sunday's Connacht SFC final between Roscommon and Galway is not the pairing that many would have foreseen at the start of the summer, and as a result, predicting the outcome is none too easy.

The issue is complicated by the fact that Roscommon have been hit with a spate of injuries, probably the most serious of which is to full-back Neil Collins, who requires surgery for a bad hamstring tear.

Considering Roscommon have not shown themselves to be a reliable defensive force - remember the fright they got against New York and the runaround they got in the first half against Sligo - the absence of someone who was a key man during a fruitful League campaign is a significant setback.

Against that, they should still retain plenty of confidence from their rock-solid Division 1 performances against the big guns, in which their cohesive forward play won widespread praise.

Galway are even more difficult to weigh up. They hardly tore up trees in Division 2 (they didn't win a single game in March or April) and unlike their opponents, they don't have the bank of experience which you get from playing against the top teams.

Read more: Time for Mayo to rally the troops and go to war

However, they do have the benefit of a confidence-boosting win over Mayo in the semi-final.

I do believe there was an element of smash-and-grab to that victory, but their young players will garner so much belief from defeating the auld enemy.

Galway are a county with a strong tradition and remind me of Down in many ways. They can come with a team almost from nowhere and just go on a roll, like Down did when they got to the 2010 All-Ireland final.

Read more: O'Gara '100pc' for Leinster final - Gavin

They also have a knack of producing classy forwards, with Danny Cummins, Damien Comer and Shane Walsh all possessing the potential to produce fireworks.

Throw in the fact they've home advantage in Pearse Stadium and the balance is tipped in the Tribesmen's favour.

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