Title race enters knockout stagesJune 22, 2012 - 7:00am
The ‘back door’ has closed, the threat of relegation has been removed, and it is now down to pure knock-out action as the Claregalway Hotel senior football championship reaches the second round proper with eight games down for decision at Pearse Stadium and Tuam Stadium, this weekend.
The draw was particularly hard on Leitir Mor, who came through extra time to beat Kilkerrin-Clonberne only to pick up two injuries and find that Killererin lie in wait in the next round.
The draw has not been kind to St Michael’s, either, as they have to face the Salthill-Knocknacarra side who beat them in the first round.
Their clash at Pearse Stadium is followed by a showdown between Annaghdown and Micheal Breathnach, but Tuam is the place to be on Saturday evening, as Tuam Stars take on Mountbellew-Moylough in a repeat of last year’s drawn quarter-final before a rejuvenated Caltra come up against an exciting young St James’ side in a very attractive double bill.
Pearse Stadium hosts a second double-header on Sunday, where there are two ‘north versus west’ clashes featuring Killererin and Leitir Mor, followed by An Cheathru Rua versus Kilconly. The Salthill venue actually has a triple-bill of senior action, as neighbours Killanin and Moycullen will clash (2pm) to see who avoids the dreaded relegation round-robin series, in which two teams will be relegated from a group of four.
Tuam Stadium also hosts a double bill of senior action on Sunday, with champions Corofin taking on Cortoon Shamrocks and Caherlistrane before Caherlistrane aim to avenge their defeat to Milltown at this exact stage last year.
Extra time will be played if any of the games finish level at the end of normal time. There will also be a draw for two Galway jerseys, children’s sizes, at each venue hosting senior and intermediate action.
St Michael’s v
Salthill-Knocknacarra (Pearse Stadium, 5.45pm)
Salthill will have to start without Galway captain Finian Hanley, who is set to miss at least two weeks of action due to the shoulder injury he picked up in the Connacht semi-final defeat to Sligo. The defender played a key part in his side’s 0-13 to 0-5 first round victory and will be missed on Saturday evening.
St Michael’s now have nothing to lose. Manager Peter Curran reports that they have a full panel to choose from and is adamant that there won’t be eight points between the sides this time around.
Shane Maughan will hope to exploit Hanley’s absence, but it is hard to look past another Salthill win. Bookmaker John Mulholland rates the underdogs’ chances at 13/2.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.