Galway LGFA – Preview: DONEGAL vs GALWAY (Sunday, 2pm Glenfin GAA Club) 

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23 April 2017; Nicole McLaughlin of Donegal in action against Caitriona Cormican of Galway during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 semi-final mach between Donegal and Galway at Markievicz Park, in Sligo. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
23 April 2017; Nicole McLaughlin of Donegal in action against Caitriona Cormican of Galway during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 1 semi-final mach between Donegal and Galway at Markievicz Park, in Sligo. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Since their All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Cork last August, this is Galway’s chance to see where they stand after impressing in the Winter League and last week’s opening day success over Monaghan.

Their second outing in the National Ladies Football League sees them up against the team that beat them heavily (5-11 to 1-7) in the 2017 league semi-final.

Geraldine McLoughlin and Yvonne McMonagle tallied 5-8 together as the Tribeswomen’s spring collapsed in April.  But with players back and a confident flow to their football, Stephen Glennon’s charges will feel they can reverse that loss.

Goals from Tracey Leonard, Leanne Coen, Mairead Seoighe and Ailbhe Davoren put Galway clear in the opening quarter in Bekan last Sunday as they dismissed the Monaghan challenge.  That followed eight goals against NUIG and six past Mayo in the pre-season Winter League which they retained last month.

Even though they conceded two goals, Galway’s defence were tight with the half-back line of Shauna Molloy, Nicola Ward and Sinead Burke looking reliable as does the midfield partnership of Aine McDonagh and Lisa Gannon.

With Dublin and Cork their last two assignments, four Galway wins from their opening five might make the semi-finals and that will include an away win.  Kerry down south on February 25th is winnable but how they fare against the Tir Conaill women will give a better indication how much they’ve improved.

Donegal lost to Dublin in their opening game but having fallen to Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-final, Maxi Curran and Damien Devaney’s team have their own point to prove.

They will be without McLoughlin who’ll miss the first half of the league but McMonagle will be key with new captain Karen Gutherie and Roisin Friel others to watch.  Debutant Amy Boyle Carr is also settling into senior football and they did perform well after conceding two early goals to the Metropolitans.

Galway will look at their options as they aim to build a strong squad for the summer.  The early indications are good but they have been mock exams ahead of their trip to the North West.

Victory won’t definitely confirm that the maroon and white are serious championship players but where they will be clearer.  They only lost the group game in Tuam by one-point last year after being caught at the death.  A similar effort is the minimum requirement and that might be enough to get the points.

Verdict: Galway

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