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2019 Connacht Championship Countdown!

Featured The Roscommon senior football team will face a resurgent Leitrim side in the quarter-finals of this year’s Connacht championship at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday, May 12th.  The Roscommon senior football team will face a resurgent Leitrim side in the quarter-finals of this year’s Connacht championship at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday, May 12th.

 

 

 

 

Mayo and Galway on foreign soil this weekend

 

The 2019 Connacht Senior Football Championship will begin this weekend when Mayo visit New York and Galway travel to London.

 

  The ‘big two’, Galway and Mayo, are the strong favourites to win this year’s championship but the start of a new one always brings fresh hope.

  This week Seamus Duke looks ahead to what promises to be another enthralling Connacht campaign…

 

Galway

Number of titles: 47

Last won: 2018

Manager: Kevin Walsh (5th year)

Key players: Shane Walsh, Ian Burke, Damien Comer (currently injured)

First game: v London in Ruislip this Sunday

Title odds: 4/5

What they’re saying: “You always want to win Connacht. It is a shorter route to the Super 8s and it makes things much easier. It’s been a long time since Galway put two Connacht titles back to back and our aim is to win Connacht if we can”. (Manager Kevin Walsh)

Chances: Deserved favourites who were just a kick of a ball away from playing Kerry in this year’s Division One final. The return of the Corofin players and a fully fit Damien Comer will be vital for them. Very strong and improving.

Prediction: Beaten finalists

Mayo

 

Number of titles: 46

Last won: 2015

Manager: James Horan (1st year of second term)

Key players: Aidan O’Shea, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan

Title odds: 5/4

First game: v New York on Sunday in New York

What they’re saying: “The fact we won the league has not put any added pressure on us at all. It was great to win a national title. It helps in terms of confidence and belief but by the time the players had togged in that day they had already moved on and it was amazing how quickly that happened”. (Manager James Horan)

Chances: They look the part under James Horan and a couple of excellent wins against Kerry in the league have brought them back into national focus again. If they win this championship it’s likely that they will have to beat Roscommon and Galway so it won’t be easy. They seem to have a renewed confidence and will have a massive following behind them.

Prediction: Winners

Roscommon

 

Number of titles: 23

Last won: 2017

Manager: Anthony Cunningham (1st year)

Key players: Enda Smith, Diarmuid Murtagh, Sean Mullooly.

Title odds: 10/1

First game: v Leitrim on Sunday, May 12th

What they’re saying: “Our biggest goal is to keep improving and improve our performances from the league. Competition for places is high at the moment and it is great to have that. Leitrim have a huge amount of confidence behind them and Terry Hyland has done a great job. We are not looking at Mayo or Galway or anyone else, our sole focus is on Leitrim on May 12th and that’s it”. (Manager Anthony Cunningham)

Chances: Roscommon always have a chance of winning the Connacht championship. However, this year they do not have an easy draw. A battle with a rejuvenated Leitrim will be tougher than usual but it is a game they should win. The clash with Mayo would be a different prospect altogether if they can overcome Leitrim.

Prediction: Beaten semi-finalists.

Leitrim

 

Number of titles: 2

Last title: 1994

Manager: Terry Hyland

Key players: Ryan O’Rourke, Michael McWeeney, Emlyn Mulligan

Title odds: 500/1

What they’re saying: “We are going into the Roscommon game to win it and that’s not being cocky or anything like that. If we didn’t think we couldn’t win we would be in the wrong job. Can we beat Roscommon? Yes we can. Will it be tough? Yes it will. It would be a turn up for the books but that’s for other people. It’s a huge game for Leitrim and we need to perform on the day, simple as that”. (Manager Terry Hyland)

Chances: It would be a very brave man (or woman) who would predict that Leitrim would win the 2019 Connacht Championship. They would have to beat Roscommon, Mayo and Galway to do so which seems very unlikely. However, their excellent league campaign will give them hope as they take the field in Dr. Hyde Park on May 12th. They will cause Roscommon problems but are unlikely to upset the odds.

Prediction: Beaten quarter-finalists

Sligo

 

Number of titles: 3

Last title: 2007

Manager: Paul Taylor (1st year)

Key players: Niall Murphy, Adrian Marren, Cian Breheny

Title odds: 100/1

What they’re saying: “It was a very difficult league campaign but the mood in the camp is good. We have taken the positives out of the league and the lads are training hard and looking forward to the championship. We have a very young panel and we are looking ahead. We are short a lot of players through injury and retirements but we are building. I presume that we will be playing Galway and if so it will be a tough game but we will be going in as underdogs so the pressure will be off”. (Manager Paul Taylor)

Chances: Sligo are usually capable of making a shape when it comes to the championship but this year it’s not looking great after a disastrous league campaign that has seen them relegated to Division Four. Assuming that Galway beat London it’s hard to see Sligo causing the Tribesmen too much trouble. They will have to hope for an easy draw in the qualifiers.

Prediction: Beaten quarter-finalists

London

 

Number of titles: None

Manager: Ciaran Deeley (2nd year)

Key players: Ryan Jones, Kiam Gavigan, Anthony McDermott

Title odds: 500/1

First game: v Galway this Sunday in Ruislip

Chances: London have had a very poor league campaign and finished bottom of Division Four. They have much the same tam as they have fielded in the past three years and although they are capable of playing some nice football, they would have very little chance of beating a powerful Galway team.

Prediction: First round defeat

New York

 

Number of titles: None

Manager: Justin O’Halloran

Key players: Tom Cunniffe, Vinny Cadden, David Culhane

First game: v Mayo this Sunday

Title odds: 500/1

Chances: The trip to New York is eagerly awaited by supporters of the various Connacht counties and New York have shown that if they can get their act together they can put it up to the visitors. But they will surely be up against it this Sunday. It will be a great weekend for Mayo people in The Big Apple but no luck for the New York GAA team again this year.

Prediction: First round defeat

 

 

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