Galway to get clear run at Mayo as club action delayed

The Galway footballers will enjoy an uninterrupted six-week run-in to their Connacht SFC quarter-final against Mayo, with not a single club championship fixture scheduled for April.

In both 2016 and 2017, the first round of the Galway senior football championship was played before the county’s provincial opener, but the decision has been taken this year to postpone club action until after Galway’s crunch Connacht quarter-final meeting with neighbours Mayo on Sunday, May 13.

Kevin Walsh’s side finished up their league with a first Division 1 final appearance in 12 years last Sunday and now have six weeks to prepare for the trip to Castlebar on May 13, with no club championship to serve as a distraction. 

The Galway SFC throws in the week after the Connacht quarter-final. Three teams will be relegated from the top-flight this year in a bid to reduce the number of senior teams.

There is a round of club championship games in Mayo this weekend before the shutters come up ahead of Galway’s visit.

Having overcome Mayo in the 2016 and 2017 Connacht semi-finals, the Tribesmen are aiming to record a third consecutive championship win over their rivals for the first time since 1987.

Manager Kevin Walsh after Sunday’s 0-18 to 0-14 defeat to Dublin said: “We haven’t thought about Mayo.

I’m sure while we were thinking about the league final, Mayo are getting the troops together. It will be a heavy five weeks.

Walsh, should he persist with the team that secured 13 points out of a possible 14 during the round-robin phase of the league, is poised to hand championship debuts to full-back Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh, midfielder Ciarán Duggan, half-forward Seán Kelly and Barry McHugh.

Corner-forward McHugh finished the spring as Galway’s top-scorer, kicking 1-28 across the five games he featured in.

Kelly was involved in each of their eight league outings, full-back Ó Ceallaigh handed the number three shirt for seven of them.

Duggan did not see game-time during Galway’s opening three league fixtures but was used off the bench in the round 4 win away to Kerry and started every game thereafter.

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