GAA Expert & Columnist
Peter Canavan: Galway and Mayo set for mouthwatering clash
Last Updated: 05/07/19 11:33am
Peter Canavan looks ahead to Saturday's huge qualifier clash between Mayo and Galway, which will be live and exclusive on Sky Sports.
The two sides find themselves in the qualifiers by virtue of Roscommon's impressive run to the Connacht title, but are heading for Limerick in totally different positions.
Mayo have put their provincial semi-final defeat firmly behind them, with victories over Down and Armagh. While there is a winning feeling, momentum and a positivity back in the group, it has come at a cost.
They've had two tough games, and it's taken its toll. Lee Keegan, Jason Doherty and Diarmuid O'Connor have joined their growing injury list, and this must be a worry for James Horan.
Galway on the other hand have had a break, and had plenty of time to think about where it went wrong in the Connacht final. There should be a hunger there to get back onto the field and set the record straight.
The first half last Saturday night was typical Mayo in that they had plenty of possession to capitalise on their scoring chances, but they only scored half of their chances - seven out of 14.
The big difference in the second half was that even though they were playing against the breeze with limited possession, they were efficient up front, scoring eight out of eight. If they continue to do that, then they're going to be hard to beat.
They allowed Armagh to come back at them, and if the Orchard County had have shown a bit of composure near the end, it may have been a different story. But this Mayo side are entitled to their slice of luck in that regard.
They're still in alive in the championship and there's still plenty of fight in them. But they're now facing another step up against Galway - their neighbours. They will need to improve over the 70 minutes if they're going to beat the Tribesmen.
This is the big time. It's undoubtedly the tie of the weekend.
James Horan was relishing the prospect of drawing their neighbours. It won't be difficult to motivate this Mayo team, given the fact that they've lost their last three championship games to the Tribesmen.
Coming in against Down and Armagh, they were coming in as hot favourites. Everyone was expecting them to win. Now it's a different scenario.
Mayo are coming for revenge. It sets up a mouthwatering tie. There's certainly no love lost between the sides.
Will Comer return?
There's speculation over whether or not Damien Comer will make his comeback on Saturday.
He's simply massive for Galway.
He's the focal point of their attack, and his absence was obvious in the Connacht final defeat. It wasn't coincidental that the men inside the forward line played poorly without him.
After their second half capitulation against Roscommon, I would expect that you're going to see a fired-up Galway team off the back of that. They've received huge criticism, a lot of people are writing them off.
If there's anything in them, surely they'll produce it for their biggest rivals on Saturday.
The two of them are so evenly matched that it's going to go down to the wire.
With the rumour that Damien Comer could figure, it would have to sway the tie in Galway's favour, especially with Lee Keegan not available.
But I wouldn't be surprised if this one ends in a draw - it's that tight. It could be settled in extra-time.
Sky Sports' live GAA coverage continues on Saturday, with Tyrone vs Cavan and Mayo vs Galway in the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers.