Galway’s Silke tips Mayo to win
FORMER All-Ireland-winning Galway captain Ray Silke says there is ‘progress being made’ in Galway, but he thinks this year is ‘probably a bit early’ for the Tribesmen to topple Mayo in the Connacht Championship.
“I don’t think our progression is good enough,” the former Corofin star told The Mayo News. “I think we might catch Mayo next year or the year after, but I don’t see it happening just now. Mayo’s physical development over the last few years should be superior to Galway’s.”
Silke, the last Corofin man prior to Michael Farragher in March to lift the Andy Merrigan Cup, said his native club’s All-Ireland club title was one of many reasons for Galway fans to be cheerful. But he warned that club football in Galway is ‘very average’ and pointed to the large margins of victory Corofin chalked up last year – 24 points in the county semi-final against Milltown, 18 in the final against St Michael’s.
Silke, a teacher at Coláiste Iognáid in Galway, has been impressed with the likes of Micheál Lundy, Patrick Sweeney, Damien Comer and his nephew Liam Silke. He’s content enough with the spine of the Galway team, where Paul Conroy and Fiontán Ó Currain ‘seem to be working very well’.
“A bit of a concern is there doesn’t seem to be a natural replacement for Finian Hanley at full-back,” he added at a gathering in Ward’s Hotel, Salthill last Wednesday which also included Mayomen Anthony Finnerty, Maurice Sheridan and Seán McManamon.
Silke, whose brother Brian is a member of Kevin Walsh’s management team, said a ‘monopoly in the province’ of the kind Mayo have established in recent years was ‘not good for anyone’.
“We won’t really know where Galway are at until they play Mayo,” he concluded.
“They were average against New York, but it was a Mickey Mouse match, really. They were poor against Leitrim – it was a disappointing match. The football was poor, the atmosphere was poor, and a lot of Galway people left early to beat the traffic. The team are a work in progress.”
MEANWHILE, former Mayo forward Maurice Sheridan fears that the defending Connacht champions are suffering from ‘mental fatigue’ – but he expects them to win on Sunday.
“Mayo by three, maybe,” the Balla man told The Mayo News when asked for a prediction.
“I think they’re a tired team, to be honest. I think there’s a bit of fatigue, and Galway are on the rise … Mayo have been up, they’ve been at the top for so long, and haven’t reached the Holy Grail … But I think they have the edge, maybe.”
His former Mayo team-mate Anthony Finnerty countered: “I don’t think we’re a tired team. I think the Mayo team weren’t pushed early in the year … through the league … They have timed their run this year to start in Galway … There’s no reason why Mayo can’t come out buzzing this year.”
While acknowledging that Galway have made ‘definite progress’ and are ‘on the way up’, Seán McManamon expects Mayo to win in Salthill.