Galway GAA – Preview: DONEGAL vs GALWAY (Sunday, 2.30pm O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny) 


After an opening day victory over Tyrone, Galway will travel in confidence this Sunday when they face Donegal in their second National Football League outing. 

Kevin Walsh’s men were deserving 1-9 to 0-8 winners in Tuam Stadium and now face the team that they dispatched by 15 points in the 2017 championship.

Galway bounced back from their heavy Connacht Final loss to Roscommon to run riot in Markievicz Park winning 4-17 to 0-14 in the qualifiers before falling to Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-final.  But this contest is expected to be much tighter.

Declan Bonner is back for a second term in charge of the Tir Conaill men and following Jim McGuinness’ ‘system,’ they have reverted to an attacking brand of football.  The Ulster County, despite defeat, did kick 2-14 on their trip to Kerry and will look to test the Tribal rearguard.

Paddy McBrearty got 10 scores and Ryan McHugh will also pop up.  Odhran McNiallais and Leo McLoone are back in the set-up and they did run Kerry to one point (2-18 to 3-14) having played with 14 men for most of the contest following Nathan Mullins’ sending off.

Mullins and Mark Anthony McGinley (quad) are out of Sunday’s tie and Donegal did play the last day without Michael Murphy, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn and Paddy McGrath.  But they did utilise some of the 2014 All-Ireland minor finalists giving bright hope for the year ahead.

Galway’s defence has come under scrutiny in recent years but Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh excelled at full back against Tyrone with Declan Kyne and Eoghan Kerin also earning plaudits in the corners.

Peter Cooke and Sean Kelly have settled well into the senior set-up while new captain Damien Comer and Shane Walsh lead the attack.  Comer’s goal after just 15 seconds set Galway on their way against the Red Hands and the returns of Gary O’Donnell and Sean Armstrong to the team were also welcomed.

Donegal are 4/7 favourites, Galway 7/4 with the draw at 15/2.  Away games are difficult to take results from in the top flight but the Tribesmen could make a serious statement of intent should they get a second win.

With Dublin in Croke Park the following Saturday, this is a must-win game for Donegal and will add its own pressures.  A physical contest with elements of flair from the respective attacks, Galway have a great chance to establish themselves in the top eight.

Verdict: Galway