herald

Monday 17 December 2018

Tribesmen's cunning to ease them past Farney

FLYING MACHING: Galway forward Shane Walsh. Pic: Sportsfile
FLYING MACHING: Galway forward Shane Walsh. Pic: Sportsfile

First, the permutations. If Galway win here, they top this group and qualify for an All-Ireland semi-final against either Tyrone or Donegal on August 12.

In that situation, Monaghan are out, unless Kerry either fail to beat Kildare or do so by a margin so small that when combined with the Farney's losing amount, it fails to make up the five point scoring difference between the two before the balls are thrown in in Salthill and Killarney today.

A draw here would be mutually beneficial.

Happily

In that scenario, Galway stay top and avoid Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final while Monaghan stroll happily into the last four, albeit against the reigning All-Ireland champions on August 11.

And then, almost finally, we have a situation whereby Monaghan beat Galway.

If that happens, both still make the All-Ireland semi-finals but Monaghan would meet Tyrone or Donegal and dump Galway into a repeat of the League final against Dublin.

We said 'almost finally' because there is one more, albeit remote possibility we wouldn't be inclined to rule out entirely.

If Kerry win and Monaghan lose, as they drew in their own meeting in Clones two weeks ago, second place will be decided by firstly, scoring difference, then by their total number of scores and finally, goals scored.

If they are tied on all those fronts, we have a play-off situation.

Kevin Walsh's team should have plenty of motivation here, though.

Firstly because the avoidance of Dublin in the semi-final is a positive outcome.

And secondly, because an under-performance and a defeat might be tricky to discard so soon before their All-Ireland SFC semi-final.

Monaghan will need to keep 15 players on the pitch in Salthill today, something the majority of Galway's opponents in League and Championship have failed to do this year.

They'll also need to convert accurately from long distance because despite flourishes of occasional form, neither Conor McCarthy nor Jack McCarron have managed to take that clichéd scoring burden off Conor McManus.

Galway meanwhile, have in Damien Comer, Shane Walsh and Ian Burke, three of the best forwards in the country just now and they have the momentum gleaned from losing just one league and championship match all year.

Monaghan have displayed a lack of cunning in the final stages of games this year.

Galway have no end of it.

ODDS: Galway 8/13, Draw 6/1, Monaghan 2/1 VERDICT: Galway

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