July Road: Galway stop the rot of Connacht final losses

Longford and Fermanagh does not a derby make in so-called regional Tailteann Cup

Had Galway had not got their hands on the Nestor Cup yesterday, it would have been their fourth provincial final defeat in succession. Just twice in the history of the Connacht Championship has a team lost four finals on the trot — Galway from 1907-10 and, most recently, Leitrim from 1957-60 (all four defeats, incidentally, to the Tribesmen).

In Ulster, it hasn’t happened since Cavan managed it in 1911, although Down (1973-75) and Armagh (1937-39) have lost three in succession. In Leinster, there have been several three-in-a-rows, most recently Meath from 2012-14, but no side has yet lost four on the bounce.

In Munster, Cork lost five finals in succession between 2017 and 2021 and hold the unwanted record, having lost eight-in-a-row from 1975 to 1982 inclusive.

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Lovely place to watch a match there, Eamon, from the houses behind us here. Beautiful houses and lovely balconies … Lucky people.

Ger Canning digresses a little during the Connacht final commentary

Confused geography in Tailteann Cup

Much has been made of the regional split in the opening rounds of the Tailteann Cup, which Larry McCarthy stated was to facilitate local derbies and thus generate a buzz.

July Road felt that RTÉ Radio’s Darren Frehill was pushing it a little on Saturday, though.

“Isn’t that interesting, the first ever championship meeting between Longford and Fermanagh and they’re so close to each other in terms of geography,” stated the excellent Saturday Sport host.

“And I think that’s the beauty of the Tailteann, I know there’s a bit of giving out in terms of breaking them up into a northern and southern section but I think the idea behind that was to encourage more local derbies and maybe for fans to go out and enjoy those.”

Fair enough — but Longford and Fermanagh does not a derby make. County grounds closer to Pearse Park than Brewster are Cavan, Roscommon, Westmeath, Meath, Leitrim, Sligo, Offaly while the quickest route from Longford to Enniskillen goes through two other counties.

Extraordinary Galligan

Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan turned in an extraordinary performance in their Tailteann Cup win over Down. The Breffni captain scored 0-7 from seven attempts (three 45s and four long-range frees) and was practically flawless on kick-outs in a near-perfect display.

Just before half-time, Lacken Celtic Galligan also saved a penalty from Barry O’Hagan; it was subsequently retaken and Galligan produced a superb save second time round. The 2020 All-Star netminder began his inter-county career as a forward — he once scored 0-10 in a National League match against Roscommon — and played his first competitive match in goals against Monaghan in the 2015 Ulster Championship.

Galligan made his senior debut for Cavan in the Tommy Murphy Cup way back in 2006.

Number: 8

Times Galway’s Paul Conroy has faced Roscommon in championship football, with just one defeat (2017).

Goal-crazy Leinster

This year’s Leinster Senior Football Championship went goal crazy. In total, 37 green flags were raised in the 10 matches. That was the highest three-pointer tally in the competition since 1983, when there were 36 goals; four years earlier, there were 45.

However, 1979 was a different scenario than this year. Back then, Kilkenny were in the competition (conceding six goals against Meath) and there were three replays, with Wexford and Carlow actually drawing twice.