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Connacht trio setting sights on Croke Park success

 

By Declan Bogue

While those of an Ulster persuasion will point to today's games and the presence of three counties of the northern province as being evidence of the strength of Gaelic football here, it is an even greater achievement for Connacht tomorrow with their three-team representation.

Naturally, the win for Roscommon over Galway in the Connacht final became one of the great stories of the summer, alongside perhaps Carlow's run for the pure romance factor.

But how Galway recovered from that insipid display to blast four goals against Donegal and humiliate a top-flight county is a great achievement by manager Kevin Walsh and his players.

Galway come up against Kerry in the first of tomorrow's games. This is the time of year that Kerry traditionally crank up a gear or two, especially after a gentle time of it in Munster this season, and they have James O'Donoghue and Paul Geaney showing that there is life after Colm Cooper.

Just how much the duo are sharing the scoring rewards would worry some, but manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has high hopes for the likes of Kieran Donaghy, Donnchadh Walsh and his platoon of subs if O'Donoghue and Geaney are negated.

"You've got six forwards going out and you want them all to score," he said.

"There are days when (Geaney and O'Donoghue) are marked very tightly. On those days, you hope that it frees up the half-forward line a little bit. We played Tyrone in the league, the lads were marked very tightly inside and we got 1-8 from our half-forward line."

In the main event, it really is a battle for supremacy in the western province as Mayo get a chance to take on Roscommon.

It is exactly the type of game that this group of Mayo players relish, not least Andy Moran, hailing from Ballaghaderreen, a club which is based partly in Roscommon.

But Roscommon manager Kevin McStay, himself a former Mayo great who has been shoddily treated by the Mayo board - especially in 2015 - will not lack motivation.

Belfast Telegraph

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