Are Galway doing the right thing in staying loyal to Joyce and Shefflin?

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE dust has well and truly settled on another whirlwind inter-county GAA season. So much happened over a compact period that you’d nearly forget half of what happened. A few weeks later, the whole thing is almost a blur, and some outstanding games were hardly done due credit due to so much going on.

It’s a legacy of the split season and it’s probably here to stay. We would prefer if the inter-county calendar stretched into the opening two weeks of August, but with so many competitions going down the round-robin route, something must give in trying to get championships run off on schedule.

How was the trading year for the Galway hurlers and footballers? To be honest, not great when you consider the positive early-season bulletins. Both teams were found wanting when the pressure came on after looking capable of having a significant influence on the destination of the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy Cups.

The footballers failing to make the All-Ireland quarter-finals represented a major disappointment given their exploits of the previous year. Despite some serious injury concerns, Galway were bombing along until their All-Ireland group clash with Armagh in Carrick-on-Shannon in mid-June. A second consecutive Connacht title was already in the bag, and they were being touted by some neutrals as potential champions.

But the wheels came off against the Orchard County. True, Damien Comer and Dylan McHugh were big losses, but it was still a game Galway should have won. They had plenty of chances, not least Shane Walsh’s spurned first half penalty but ended up losing by 0-16 to 1-12. The consequence of that loss was an unexpected preliminary quarter-final battle against Mayo.

Like Galway, Kevin McStay’s team were now also having to go the long way around after failing to build on a thumping group win over Kerry in Killarney. With the season of these arch Connacht rivals on the line, a huge crowd descended on Salthill in late June. It was a wind-marred affair and though the hosts led by 0-8 to 0-3 at the interval, it was far from an unassailable advantage.

Pictured: St James’ Eoin Finnerty is about to be challenged by Dylan Seoige of Naomh Anna Leitir Móir during Saturday’s Senior Football Chanmpionship Group 1 contest at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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