Derry v Galway – who will win the tactical battle?

Compiled by Michael McMullan



SINCE their hammering in the League to Galway, Derry upped the ante and everything they’ve touched has turned to gold.

Missing out on promotion was a bitter pill to swallow, but they spent their five post-League weeks wisely. Training was ramped up and their margin of the Galway defeat was taken with a pinch of salt.

By the time they rolled into Healy Park, a starting 15 was established that hasn’t changed with Emmett Bradley reduced to a role as the impact man to give Derry somewhere to go when a 20-minute injection is needed.

The manner in which Derry disposed of Tyrone – with Gareth McKinless at its centre – raised eyebrows across Ulster and beyond.

It wasn’t just an ambush in the long grass and two Benny Heron goals downed Monaghan before Rory Gallagher outfoxed Declan Bonner to bring the Anglo Celt Cup to Derry for the first time in 24 years.


THE Tribesmen laid down a marker as early as their first League game in the eye of a Salthill storm.

A wind-assisted Galway were 1-9 to 0-0 ahead of a Meath team who won the toss and didn’t score 45 minutes in a heavy defeat.

With the exception of a 2-8 to 1-5 win over Clare, Galway’s League campaign was one for the purists. When Derry won the toss and elected to play into the wind in the top of the table clash at Owenbeg, Galway hammered a flat home team out the game by half-time.

After beating Roscommon to win the FDB League earlier in the season, Galway lost the League final to the Rossies. But it was their Championship win over Mayo that pushed their season to another level and they got revenge by beating Roscommon to land their second piece of silverware.

And after surrendering a six-point lead to Armagh in the quarter-finals, they needed a helping hand from Cillian McDaid to translate an ebbing and flowing extra-time to winning a penalty shoot-out with their penalties of the highest order.



SHANE McGuigan has been the leading scorer with a scintillating display against Clare, but Benny Heron’s 5-6 tally has elevated him to cult status among fans.

It’s Derry’s running element to their game, with Brendan Rogers, Conor McCluskey, Gareth McKinless, Ethan Doherty and Conor McCluskey that keeps other teams on their toes.


SHANE Walsh leads the charts, kicking off both feet, but Damien Comer is their most dangerous threat with all but a mark from his 4-21 total coming from open play. His movement pulled Brendan Rogers out of full-back in the League win over Derry and allowed Galway to create havoc through the centre. Galway have had support in the form of Robert Finnerty, with scores coming from all over the team.


Chrissy McKaigue v Damien Comer

THE Derry skipper has been putting out fires all season and has conceded just 0-3 (of which two came from Darren McCurry) from play in the six Championship games under Rory Gallagher.

Damien Comer has been the ace card in Galway’s attack and if McKaigue can keep a lid on him, it will be a major step towards a Derry win.

Seán Kelly v Shane McGuigan

LIKE Galway top score Shane Walsh, McGuigan missed the League clash back in March and his presence will give Joyce’s defence something to ponder.

Kelly picked up Rian O’Neill when the Crossmaglen star was stationed at full-forward, but it was Liam Silke who followed him when he roved.  McGuigan has been rotating his role and is a kick-out target for Lynch, which could leave this an interesting matchup.

Conor Glass v Paul Conroy

TWO men mountains with a big say in the midfield battle. Conroy’s scoring return will test Glass and keep him honest around the middle, given how much time covering back to be Derry’s defensive rock at the back.

After their poor return on long kick-outs in the early stages of the Armagh game, it’s hard to see Galway falling into the same trap this weekend. If they do, an ever-improving Glass could thrive in the air. A great tussle awaits.



Odhran Lynch; Chrissy McKaigue, Conor McCluskey; Brendan Rogers; Shea Downey, Paudí McGrogan, Conor Doherty; Gareth McKinless, Conor Glass; Paul Cassidy, Shane McGuigan, Ethan Doherty; Benny Heron, Niall Loughlin, Niall Toner


Conor Gleeson; Liam Silke, Sean Kelly, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Kieran Molloy; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Patrick Kelly, Cillian McDaid, Johnny Heaney; Shane Walsh ; Robert Finnerty, Damien Comer,

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