Forde Focus!

It’s not too often that Sligo and Galway have met in the Connacht Senior Football Final so there is a certain novelty about this game as the sides do battle in Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday next (throw-in at 2 pm).    The bookies reckon that Galway (2/9) will win easily against Sligo (4/1) but this writer is not so sure about those odds. Galway deserve the favourite’s tag because they easily brushed aside the challenge of Mayo in the opening round and people all around the country sat up and took notice of that performance – however in the semi-final Peter Forde’s men struggled to beat Leitrim who could have won if they had believed in their ability on the day.   Galway have a very strong back-line and they snuffed out the Mayo and Leitrim attacks without much fuss on both days. However Galway are not as reliable at midfield and in attack, despite the presence of some class performers. Eamonn O’Hara and Ciaran Quinn will be hoping to get at least a share of the spoils against Joe Bergin and either Barry Cullinane or Niall Coleman.   Nicky Joyce was the Galway hero against Leitrim and he will need more help if Galway are to beat this Sligo team. Padraig Joyce and Michael Meehan are yet to play well in this year’s championship but the fear for Sligo is that both are class players and match-winners if they hit form.   The Sligo half-back line and especially Paul McGovern and Johnny Davey were excellent  against Roscommon and they set up many an  attack in that semi-final. They will need to do the same this Sunday and Sligo will have to bring their shooting boots with them too as a return of the nature of the 15 wides against Roscommon will not do on Sunday.   I expect that it will be a dour, tough, hard battle. Sligo will fight for every ball as if their lives depend on it.   However the real battle will be in the four or so inches between the ears of the Sligo players! If they really believe that they can win this game then we are in for a hell of a struggle and maybe even a shock outcome.  However I think that Galway have just too much class and power, especially in their defence and I expect them to win narrowly. That having been said I reckon the bet of the weekend is Sligo to cover the handicap. They are 10/11 plus five points which is a hell of a bet in my book. Prediction: Galway.   Footnote: In the Connacht MFC Final Roscommon are 11/8 while Galway are favourites at 4/6. The draw is available at 6/1.