THERE’S no pleasing some pundits. There really isn’t.
On Sunday in the Connacht Football Championship semi-final, Galway racked up a cricket score against Sligo. They kicked 4-24. They won by 21 points. They’d 11 different scorers. Eight players scored twice or more. Twenty-two of their white flags came from play. That’s serious scoring. It was an exhibition of scoring in the Stadium.
It’s the highest tally Galway have hit during Kevin Walsh’s reign; seven points more than the hammering they doled-out to Donegal in the Qualifiers last season. It was far higher than previous provincial blowouts including the 3-16 Galway put past Roscommon in the 2016 final replay; the 2-18 against New York in 2015; and 3-17 they put-up against London in 2014.
A total of 4-24 is off the Richter scale altogether. And still curmudgeon Colm O’Rourke scoffed on RTÉ television’s Sunday Game programme when fellow panellist Tomás Ó Sé generously suggested Galway aren’t as defensive as some people make them out to be.
You’d wonder how much more Walsh’s charges would have to accumulate before the Meath man acknowledged it. Forty points? Who knows.
On Saturday, in his column in the Irish Daily Star, which was flagged on the front page, former Donegal player Eamon McGee talked about how much he disliked Galway, who “do the spite thing”. They’re just two of many.
Walsh and Co will rightly pay no heed to the flak. If anything, it should be regarded as a compliment. Because all the background noise from national critics does is highlight that Galway are a credible force once again. The fact that McGee, O’Rourke and others are grudging means Galway are relevant. They’re on the rise. They’re a threat. They’re contenders.
That was perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Galway’s cakewalk in Pearse Stadium.
They came into this as favourites having edged out Mayo in an arm-wrestle in Castlebar; and Galway more than justified their favouritism with an absolute clinical professionalism. Like Kerry did to Clare down in Munster shooting the lights out, and like Dublin have been doing in Leinster for donkeys’ years against so-called lesser teams, Galway showed Sligo no mercy.
This was a mismatch but it was a mismatch because Galway didn’t give a sucker an even break. That’s what you want to see – good and great teams don’t stumble over minnows.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.