SUNDAY 16 JUNE
Galway v Roscommon, Pearse Stadium, 4pm
Live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App from 3.30pm.
Live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport from Brian Carthy and Eamonn O'Hara.
Live coverage on The Sunday Game Live, RTÉ2 Television and the RTÉ Player, with commentary from Marty Morrissey and Dessie Dolan and analysis from Cora Staunton and Tomás Ó Sé. Highlights of all the weekend's action on The Sunday Game on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 9.30pm. Game also live on GAAGO.
Sunday will be a bright, rather breezy and a very showery day. A few bright or short sunny spells, but the showers will be fairly widespread by lunchtime. Many will be heavy in the afternoon and early evening, with possibly a few thundery downpours in places. Top temperatures 14 to 17 C., in moderate to fresh and gusty south to southwest winds. For more go to met.ie.
Rossies eye another scalp
And so Galway and Roscommon come together again in the quest to take home the Nestor Cup. It's the fourth year on the trot that the pairing adorn Connacht final day. Many had expected that Mayo would be Galway's opponents, but no the Rossies dig deep on that wet evening in Castlebar to deservedly take their place in the showdown. The question is can they now take out Connacht's 'big two' for the first time since 2001?
Roscommon, now under the shrewd tutelage of Anthony Cunningham and before that, Kevin McStay, have been dining close enough to the top table in recent seasons.
In 2017, they swept Galway aside in the Connacht final and then were within minutes of reaching an All-Ireland semi-final.
Last year, the Tribesemen gained revenge at the Hyde Park, but Roscommon picked themselves up to reach the Super 8s. However, the new format proved a bridge too far for McStay's men, but they got a taste of it.
And now they want to push on. Regaining the Connacht crown and being competitive in the Super 8s would represent a decent summer.
While Mayo dominated many aspects of the semi-final encounter three weeks ago, the Rossies' economical use of the ball and their ability to counter-attack yielded a dividend that just got them over the line. In truth they prevented the Green and Red from finding and proper rhythm and the 17 wides that James Horan's side hit says much about their snarling attitude that evening.
More of the same will be required to win back the crown. Much focus will be on the Roscommon kickouts and the battle that Tadgh O’Rourke and Shane Killoran will have with Tom Flynn, Fiontan O Curroin in the middle.
Quick ball into Conor Cox and Diarmuid Murtagh will be vital, and if the former can reproduce his showing against Mayo, then Roscommon are sure to be well in the mix going down the straight.
Getting the balance right
Galway as a footballing force tends to elicit many responses that put the county in a positive light on the back of the 'pleasing' game that they play. In his time as a player, Mick O'Dwyer regularly alluded to Galway as the thorn in the Kerry side when they met on the big days.
After a few seasons where the Tribesemen were considered a tad 'soft' there is now a tougher side to their make up. A well-defined system is the springboard to what they do and since their trimming by the Rossies two summers ago, Galway are now a much harder nut to crack. Yet they are not as pleasing on the eye as many would like them to be given the attacking threat they possess.
"The balance between defence and attack has to level off that little bit more," says Tomás Ó Sé in his preview of the final on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland.
And while Damien Comer is still sidelined, Galway are still well served in attack - with Shane Walsh, Michael Daly, Johnny Heaney Ian Burke and Danny Cummins among those who know the way to goal.
Paul Conry and Adrian Varley could be sprung from the bench to add greater strength up front.
Galway's championship form to date has been patchy enough on the back of lacklustre wins over London and Sligo.
Things are to get a whole lot serious now.
Did you know
This is the first time that Galway have been in four consecutive Connacht finals since 1968-71, while Roscommon achieved the same feat in the years 1977-1980.
Sunday's winner will head to the Super 8s where they will be in a group alongside the Leinster champions and the Ulster and Munster beaten finalists or Round 4 qualifier winners.
Last 5 Championship meetings
2018: Galway 0-16 Connacht 2-06 (Connacht final)
2017: Roscommon 2-15 Galway 0-12 (Connacht final)
2016: Galway 3-16 Roscommon 0-14 (Connacht final replay)
2016: Galway 0-13 Roscommon 1-10 (Connacht final)
2008: Galway 2-16 Roscommon 0-06 (Connacht quarter-final)
Roscommon have made three changes in their forward division.
Captain Enda Smith replaces Andrew Glennon at left corner-forward, having only been able to make a substitute appearance in the semi-final win over Mayo due to a broken finger.
Diarmuid Murtagh starts in the other corner for semi-final goalscorer Ultan Harney, who injured knee ligaments in training last week.
Conor Devaney comes in for Hubert Darcy at right half-forward.
Kevin Walsh has made one switch to the side that defeated Sligo in the last four.
Gary O'Donnell starts at right wing-back in place of the injured Kieran Molloy. Paul Conroy, Adrian Varley, Ciarán Duggan and Declan Kyne were all believed to be in contention to return but have to be content with a place on the bench.
Roscommon: Darren O’Malley; David Murray, Sean Mullooly, Conor Daly; Niall Daly, Conor Hussey, Ronan Daly; Tadgh O’Rourke, Shane Killoran; Conor Devaney, Cathal Cregg, Niall Kilroy; Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Cox, Enda Smith
Galway: Bernard Power; Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy O' Ceallaigh, Liam Silke; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, John Daly; Tom Flynn, Fiontan O Curroin; Shane Walsh, Michael Daly, Johnny Heaney; Antaine Ó Laoi, Ian Burke, Danny Cummins.
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