7 May 2024

~4 minutes read

Galway and Mayo Ladies gear up for Connacht Final

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Galway and Mayo Ladies gear up for Connacht Final

The TG4 Connacht Ladies’ final next Sunday in Kiltoom will provide us with the latest instalment of a gripping and compelling rivalry that never fails to produce a shortage of drama. Up until the corresponding fixture last year, the balance of power seemed to have shifted to Galway, however, Mayo produced the goods on Connacht final day and have been the superior force in Connacht since. Mayo went to account for their western neighbours in the latter stages of last year’s All Ireland championship and registered another win over the Galway girls in this year’s league competition.

League form is perhaps the barometer we will be using for gauging where the teams are at this early stage of the championship. If that is the case, then Mayo will start as favourites in Kiltoom on Sunday. The defending provincial champions finished in 5th position in Division 1 while Galway unfortunately went through the trap door and will play in the second division next year as a result. Mayo enjoyed three wins, secured one draw and suffered three defeats in a league campaign that was a mixed bag when it came to results.

The Mayo girls, just like their Galway counterparts, have a new management setup in 2024. Until the end of last summer, Liam McHale was part of his brother-in-law Kevin McStay’s management team with the Mayo men’s team. McHale however opted to step away from the ticket and eventually was appointed the Mayo ladies manager after a somewhat controversial selection process in which he was initially selected for the role but failed to win the support of the Mayo LGFA County board in a secret ballot. He subsequently reapplied for the position and as the old saying goes if first you don’t succeed try again and it was a case of second time lucky.

When we caught up with Liam at a preview event ahead of the final, he was quick to point out that there is unity in camp, and everyone is singing from the one hymn sheet. You get the feeling that Liam McHale knows the benefit of having a united front if a team are to be successful. The Ballina native is also quick to play down any talk of his side being favourites adding that Galway provided him with ample evidence in this year’s league match in Duggan Park that they can be dangerous opposition. It’s a view also held by the Mayo skipper Saoirse Lally who expressed her confidence that the the new players in the camp will provide the catalyst to build on the 2023 championship run which ended at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

Daniel Moynihan is also in his first season in charge of the Galway ladies. Moynihan has forged a fine reputation as an underage manager and enjoyed success with the Galway minors. Having a successful club team like Kilkerrin Clonberne of course raises the profile of ladies’ football in the county but it also results in players having to be managed properly for intercounty commitments after a long and extended club season. Moynihan wants to see the real Galway in action now and he is hopeful that the group have collectively parked the league relegation disappointment. It’s a view also held by the team vice-captain Roisin Leonard. She also feels that Galway now needs to find a way of turning narrow defeats into victories. The Galway comeback could pick a worse place to start, because as well as championship ranking at stake, there are major bragging rights in Connacht. Throw-in on Sunday is at 2 p.m. in St Brigid’s GAA Grounds in Kiltoom, Co Roscommon.

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