Former Galway dual star, Alan Kerins, believes his native Tribesmen should have too much for Roscommon in this Sunday’s Connacht SFC final with Roscommon in Pearse Stadium.
The two sides meet for the fourth year in a row following the Rossies huge upset win over Mayo last month while Galway have dispatched off London and Sligo en route to Sunday’s final.
Kerins, who won an All-Ireland with Galway in 2001, admits it’s hard to know where Galway are at considering their two games have come against sides Division 4 outfits, however, he still feels home advantage coupled with their system should see them over the line. The former dual player is also looking forward to the added spick of seeing former Tribesmen hurling manager, Anthony Cunningham, pitting another team against Galway.
“I suppose it’s interesting with Anthony Cunningham coming back. [Ex-] Galway hurling manager leading Roscommon back into the football championship. A great achievement for Anthony. Very good win over Mayo.
“It’s hard to know where Galway are, they played London and they played Sligo, they had a very poor league run. But I still think Galway probably should [edge it]. The home venue, plus their defensive system, plus if they can play that really sharp counter-break. They have pace in Shane Walsh and Eamon Brannigan and all these guys. They can play that really fast offensive [game]. And have really good forwards, they have some of the best footballers in the country in Galway, as a unit. If they can free those guys up to express themselves, I think we should have enough to beat Roscommon definitely.”
Kerins only concern heading into Sunday’s encounter surround the unpredictable weather conditions that come with playing in the Salthill venue.
Quite often the blustery conditions of Salthill play into Galway’s favour considering it’s their home ground, but Roscommon toppled them at the same venue two seasons ago so Kevin Walsh’s men will be fully aware of the threat posed by the Rossies.
“I hope the weather doesn’t ruin it. Pearse Stadium can be a nightmare depending on the breeze, it can ruin it. Roscommon surprised us — well, not surprised us, but they won there a few years ago.”
The former Salthill-Knocknacarra footballer admits that Pearse Stadium wouldn’t be his favourite venue to play in due to its unpredictability.
“It can be a game of two halves really if the wind is really strong especially for football because, in hurling, the ball can travel a little bit more into the breeze but football you really need to work it and it can be quite difficult to kick into that goals to score. And then it’s a swirling wind so it depends what wind is there. It wouldn’t be my favourite venue, to be honest, to play a game just because you don’t know what (the conditions are going to be).
“I don’t want to say too much about my home venue (laughs) but your kind of getting the gist I suppose. It can be very difficult.”
Galway also play matches at St Jarlath’s Park in Tuam, however, when asked whether he would prefer this to be their full-time home venue, Kerins weighed up the pros and cons of the two venues before eventually seeming to side with the Salthill venue for reasons outside of its unpredictability.
“Well, I am a strange one because I didn’t take up football until I was 23 so I didn’t play that much football, I played three or four years with Galway.
“I suppose in Tuam it’s a smaller pitch, Salthill is probably a nicer surface, a nicer pitch, a nicer venue but the wind can be difficult whereas Tuam wouldn’t have the breeze but it wouldn’t be as good a surface so it’s a bit of a muchness of muchness and it’s a tighter pitch as well, I used to like an open pitch so I wouldn’t have either or it’s just the breeze factor in Salthill that’s all.”