Roscommon to win – 5/2
For the fourth year in a row, Galway and Roscommon lock horns in the Connacht decider. It represents something of a shift in power in the West after a half-decade of Mayo dominance and both made it to last season’s Super 8s, while the Mayo men missed out in 2018.
Their three previous meetings have been pretty evenly contested, with Roscommon winning one and Galway two (one after a replay). Roscommon faded badly in last year’s final and failed to build on a promising opening half.
Galway won at a canter in the league this year, but haven’t been properly tested in the provincial Championship. An unconvincing win over London in Ruislip was followed by a facile semi-final win over a Sligo team that failed to pick up a so much as a point in Division 3.
Roscommon had a far more arduous route, first beating a vastly improved Leitrim side before just about emerging on the right side of an epic with Mayo at MacHale Park.
The Rossies are more battle-hardened, and that should stand them in good stead ahead of the final.
Cathal Cregg to score a goal anytime – 6/1
While Conor Cox’s highly publicised transfer from Kerry to Roscommon has caught the public eye, several other Roscommon forwards have gone under the radar and are quietly going about their business.
Cox has undoubtedly been excellent for Roscommon, and he has top scored for them in numerous games in League and Championship for them in 2019. However, he has only found the back of the net once for Roscommon – doing so from the penalty spot against Galway in the spring.
Plenty of other forwards have picked up the slack in the respect though, with Ultan Harney, Shane Killoran, Niall Kilroy and Cathal Cregg all raising green flags in the Connacht Championship. It is Cregg that represents the best value to do so again on Sunday.
The veteran forward’s phenomenal goal in the one-point win over Mayo will have given him confidence going into the final. It came off the back of a trademark marauding run and devastating left-footed finish which left Rob Hennelly with absolutely no chance.
Against what is sure to be a packed Galway defence, a moment of magic could be required to unlock it, and Cregg has that in his locker.
Over 31.5 points – 5/6
While Galway are typically low scoring under Kevin Walsh, Roscommon are not built that way. Last year’s Connacht final was diabolical to watch and Galway quite literally strangled the life out of a promising Roscommon attack.
Their defensive philosophy came undone when Dublin made them chase shadows in the All-Ireland semi-final and they surely have to adapt if they want to seriously challenge this year.
Roscommon, on the other hand, are almost too gung-ho at times and find the back of the net with alarming regularity. They have scored 11 goals in their last seven Championship games.
Chances are, they will raise at least one green flag against Galway on Sunday and that will go a long way towards beating the fairly low points total of 31.5.
Admittedly, that total was not breached last year, but we’re anticipating a more open game this time around. If Roscommon play like they did against Mayo in May, or Galway in 2017, they will find a lot of joy against a Galway team that almost always leaks goals against them.
With Conor Cox in their ranks, Roscommon now also have the arsenal to kick over the Galway blanket defence and force them to attack, meaning that this game should be a good deal more exciting than last year’s travesty.
* All odds correct at time of posting and may vary up to throw-in.