Why we could see dramatic changes to the Galway team for Monaghan finale 11 months ago

Why we could see dramatic changes to the Galway team for Monaghan finale

GAA Hour guest and former Meath intercounty player Cian Ward has said that Galway should rest some of their key players ahead of their All-Ireland quarter-final group stage finale with Monaghan next month.

Opening round wins over Kerry and Kildare has guaranteed Galway a place in the semi-final, which will take place just one week after the final game of the group stage at home to Monaghan in Salthill.

Ward said that Galway should be wrapping up the likes of Damien Comer and Shane Walsh in cotton wool ahead of the tie and that the Tribesmen should learn from their recent run of injuries.

"This quarter-final match, they've nothing to play for," Ward said on the latest episode of the GAA Hour.

"They're already in the semi-final. Think about it in any other logical manner. If you were playing in a championship semi-final with your club, and you have a league game the week before, why would you care about the league game?

"Lads would be wrapped up in cotton wool. You'd be saying to your top men 'these guys are after playing two weeks in a row now, if we rest them up we'll have two free weekends for them before the semi-final. That's the way they should be looking at it.

"If you look at Galway you have [Paul] Conroy who is after breaking his leg, you have [Ciaran] Duggan who has been out with injury and you have Michael Daly that went off with a hamstring injury, he was struggling with that, they're three key players for them if they were fit and available.

"They can't afford to lose any more, certainly from their starting XV. A full game in two weeks time for the likes of Sean Armstrong, [Adrian] Varley, that would be worth far more to them than the likes of [Damien] Comer and [Shane] Walsh. I don't think they need the gametime."

A win for Galway would see the Tribesman play the runners-up of Group 2, presumably Donegal or Tyrone, whereas if they lost at home to Monaghan they would most likely play Group 2 leaders Dublin in a semi-final.

An appearance in All-Ireland final is obviously better than an appearance in a semi-final, and although whatever team wins the All-Ireland final will probably have to beat Dublin to lift the Sam Maguire Cup, should the Jacks be dethroned, however, meeting the defending champions in a semi-final might be more preferable for Galway.

"I think they're more beatable in a semi-final than a final," added host Colm Parkinson.

"I do think psychologically you could catch Dublin. Imagine playing this Dublin team in an All-Ireland final. It's huge. I think that might be a step too far but a semi-final doesn't seem as big."