Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon
FOR the first time in almost half a century, patrons of Liam Mellows GAA club in Galway City are preparing for a county senior hurling championship final. As a delighted club chairman Brian Keville notes, it is all a bit surreal.
“I suppose, we have been figuring out what to do (since the semi-final) because this is all new to us and we have no script or plan that we can pull out of our back pocket that we used a few years ago,” smiles Keville as he oversees the senior squad’s recent press night in Ballyloughane.
“So, it is trying to figure out what needs to be done and what needs to be prioritised. The first thing we are trying to do is support the players and the management while also staying out of their way. The second thing is trying to get the word out about the final and to get the city behind the team.”
Indeed, anyone who has been through Galway over the past couple of weeks would think the colours of Christmas have changed from red and white to green and white. Forget Santa Claus. The Tom Callanan Cup is the only thing on Liam Mellows minds.
In any event, Keville and his club committee are doing what they can to drum up support and get the City behind Louis Mulqueen’s charges as they face down favourites Gort this Sunday. “We are hoping the fact that it is in Pearse Stadium we will get a very large support. We need that very large support to come out and roar our lads on.
“So, we are hoping the support will not just come from the Mellows fan base in the city but from anybody who has any sporting affiliation in the area. While we are there this year, obviously, we would love to equally see the other neighbouring clubs in the same position as we happen to be in this year because the rising tide is going to lift all boats.”
No doubt, hurling in the city needs this. Castlegar did contest a final in 1987 but the last time the county cup came to the area was when Cashel claimed the honours in 1984 – and the club was probably more country than city at that stage!
Since then, though, the lack of hurling success in the county’s capital has often resulted in the game losing ground to more successful clubs and sports. In the 1990s, Galway United won the FAI Cup (1991) – subsequently playing in the opening round of the European Cup Winners Cup – and with the Republic of Ireland soccer team also at the height of their power, soccer was all the rage.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.