Pearse Stadium, 6.0pm Saturday
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Previous Championship meeting
1938: Galway 2-10 Monaghan 2-3 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Things are very finely poised in Group 1 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter-finals, otherwise known as the Super 8s, with three of the four teams still able to reach the semi-finals.
Both sides in Salthill this weekend can still top the group, which is a big lure given that the top team will have an extra day’s preparation before next weekend’s semi-finals – they’d play on Sunday rather than Saturday – and avoids four in-a-row chasing Dublin for the time being at least.
A draw would be good enough for Galway to ensure top spot while Monaghan can only finish first if they win. A draw would see Monaghan through to the semi-finals for the first time since 1988, though they can still lose and go through, depending on the result between Kerry and Kildare in Killarney.
There is still the outside chance that a play-off will be required between Monaghan and Kerry should results go a very specific way.
Monaghan will feel that they should already be in the last four, but they let it slip against Kerry a fortnight ago; first of all kicking wide after wide and then, at the death, allowing Kingdom wonder kid David Clifford knife home a late, late equaliser.
Galway haven’t been pretty to watch this season, adopting a very defensive set-up, but it has been effective.
They’re hard to beat, only losing once all season, and they have kept on rolling despite injuries robbing them of their first-choice midfield of Paul Conroy and Ciaran Duggan.
Interestingly, they have won three of their biggest games this year, against Mayo, Kerry and Kildare, with the opposition having a man sent off before the end so Monaghan will know that discipline will be key.
So much of what Monaghan did against the Kingdom was excellent, with goalkeeper Rory Beggan and Conor McManus in particular outstanding. But therein lies one of their problems – between them the pair scored all bar four of their points that day in Clones.
They will need a greater return from other players and they will also need to cut out the wides that hurt them so badly against Kerry, particularly as clear-cut chances will be at a premium against the compact Tribesmen defence.
Kerry didn’t start with a sweeper and were punished immediately when McManus hit a goal. Don’t expect such charity from a battle-hardened Galway side who think safety first at all time
The Tribe were burned in the past under manager Kevin Walsh trying to play open and attractive football, so the addition of Paddy Tally to the backroom team has helped add a little starch to their defending.
The Super 8s - The story so far. Who will join Dublin in the last four? #TheSundayGame #football pic.twitter.com/JwFdDVHQtF— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) August 4, 2018
Galway have only lost a single competitive game this season, the League final when they pushed Dublin all the way, and they will want to continue on winning ways, which would see them top the group. Monaghan will feel they left it behind them against Kerry so will have plenty of motivation travelling to Salthill.
Generally dry and bright, with light breezes and temperatures between 19 and 22 degrees.
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)