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Inside Track

Galway hurling needs to take a leaf out of Clare’s book

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Inside Track with Ciaran Tierney

Where to now for Galway hurling? As virtually the entire hurling world celebrates in the afterglow of a truly phenomenal All-Ireland final replay, genuine delight at the success of our neighbours south of the border has to be tempered by frustration that the 2014 campaign never really took off for a Galway side which was listed among the title favourites at the start of the year.

As delegates from the clubs sit down to pass judgement on a poor year for the county’s senior team this week, there is no doubt that Clare’s thrilling win has electrified hurling people all over the country amid delight that the dominance of the ‘big three’ – Kilkenny, Cork, and Tipperary – dating back to 1999 has at last been broken.

Hopefully, now, the sport will open up to the less-traditional counties in the coming years, to match the revolution of the 1990s, and players in counties such as Waterford, Limerick, Wexford, and Dublin should have an extra pep in their step when they return for Winter training. Kilkenny just don’t seem to have the same aura about them, or appear to be so far ahead of the pack, any more.

Clare’s fourth All-Ireland success provided a fitting end to a fantastic championship. It seemed to come out of the blue, as there was certainly no basis for thinking that they would end up as 2013 All-Ireland champions when they hosted Galway in a dour National Hurling League game before a crowd of about 3,000 down in Ennis in early March.

But a Banner side featuring a teenage Shane O’Donnell at corner forward showed character and grit in abundance that day – attributes which held them in good stead all Summer – to hurl resolutely against the wintry elements in the second half and forge out a narrow 0-18 to 1-13 win.

The only memorable aspect from that tie from a Galway point of view was how much the visitors relied on Joe Canning, who hit 1-9 of the 1-13, and a hugely impressive Davy Glennon – the Tribesmen’s one true ‘find’ of this year’s League – in an underperforming attack.

John Conlon was Clare’s inspiration that day, hitting three superb long-range points in a row when Galway had the backing of the elements in the third quarter, and it was clear that Davy Fitzgerald was in the early process of ‘blooding’ a promising, if extremely youthful, side.

By way of contrast, Galway failed to nail down key positions during a disappointing League or to build on the huge promise they showed in reaching last year’s final.

By the time the sides met again in the All-Ireland quarter-final in Thurles, Clare were on a roll. The Banner had learned a lot from overcoming Wexford in extra time of their qualifier, despite shooting 20 wides, and there was a lethal intensity about them at Semple Stadium that an extremely flat Galway side could not cope with.

Anthony Cunningham’s men failed to deal with the Banner’s new-look sweeper system, took off both starting midfielders, and would have been annihilated but for two second half goals which came somewhat against the run of play. As it transpired, they had no complaints about exiting the championship on a scoreline of 1-23 to 2-14.

It was the seventh time in eight years that the Tribesmen were out of the championship before the Galway Races, despite their massive achievement in overcoming a seemingly unbeatable Kilkenny in last year’s Leinster final and taking them to an All-Ireland Final replay last September.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Lyng taking over from Cody leads to an outbreak of relief in Galway

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Galway's Ciara Donohue breaking out of defence against Lauren Homan of Cork during Sunday's All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Final at Croke Park. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THERE was surely a collective sigh of relief in Galway’s hurling strongholds when former midfielder Derek Lyng was appointed to succeed Brian Cody as the new Kilkenny manager last week – the first time since the winter of 1998 that a new senior supremo has been unveiled down Noreside way.

After Cody somewhat surprisingly ended his long tenure as Kilkenny manager in the wake of last month’s battling All-Ireland Final defeat to Limerick, it was only natural that current Galway team manager Henry Shefflin, Kilkenny’s most decorated player of all-time, would be linked with the vacancy.

“Don’t do it Henry” was a common refrain on social media as Galway supporters understandably feared the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman would find the prospect of talking over his native county impossible to resist. Lyng, Martin Fogarty and ex-Laois boss Eddie Brennan were also touted as being in the running.

A similar precedent had been set this summer when Liam Cahill abruptly departed Waterford to return to Tipperary after the local County Board hardly covered itself in glory in the manner it ended the tenure of former player Colm Bonnar after just one year in charge. Admittedly, it had been a tough championship for Tipperary, losing all four games in Munster, but there were extenuating circumstances.

For starters, Brendan Maher and Padraic Maher retired – the latter was forced to hang up the boots due to a neck injury – while other heroes of past All-Ireland triumphs, Bubbles O’Dwyer, John McGrath and Seamus Callanan, were also notable absentees. It meant Bonnar took over a Tipperary team in transition.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Lots of positivity around but Galway will now have target on their backs

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Owner Annette Mee with Monday’s Galway Festival bumper winner,This Songisforyou. Also included are Emmet Mullins, trainer, Laura Keir, and jockey Derek O'Connor. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

ALL around Ballybrit last week, the post All-Ireland football final verdict was virtually unanimous: Galway were unlucky against Kerry but had done the county proud. Naturally, the big focus was on the harsh free awarded against John Daly as he attempted to break out of defence late in the match.

Of all the varying opinions on the controversy doing the rounds at the races and in the media at large, former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness probably put it the most succinctly of all in Saturday’s edition of the Irish Times. He said anyone just focusing on the first part of the incident would award a free out to Daly, but those only seeing Killian Spillane’s arm being pulled in by the Galway number six would have sided with referee Seán Hurson’s call.

And that’s in a nutshell. The first foul was committed on Daly and that should have led to a crucial free out for Galway just seconds after Damien Comer had forced a terrific turnover. In that moment, however, Kerry got a break they weren’t entitled to, and the Munster champions weren’t slow in taking advantage.

Galway were that close to ending 21-years in the All-Ireland wastelands, but Padraic Joyce and his players don’t need any reminding that it’s a long way back to next year’s final. Sure, they have made huge progress over the past few months and their camp will now be stacked with belief, but there are no guarantees that they will enjoy another protracted run in 2023.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Nothing certain in 2023 but at least Galway won’t start from base camp

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Galway manager Pádraic Joyce and defender Kieran Molloy look on during the presentation of the Sam Maguire Cup to Kerry after Sunday's All-Ireland Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE sense of anti-climax will be overwhelming for everybody associated with the Galway footballers this week. Homecomings are an understandable necessity of the All-Ireland final experience, but they can be a testing environment for deflated players and management. Within hours you’re going from great expectations to utter despair.

The fact that Galway could have ended a 21-year All-Ireland drought will only compound the disappointment, and though the Tribesmen have laid a great foundation for the seasons ahead, there is absolutely no guarantee that this group will even get back to Croke Park on finals day again.

First of all, Galway’s cover is well and truly blown which means the accompany rise in expectations is something of a double-edged sword. There will be extra pressure as well compared to 2021 when there was a ‘bonus feel’ to the team’s major progress in the championship. They kind of came in under the radar, but won’t have that luxury next year.

The other big issue is outside their control. Now that Kerry are finally back on top of the football tree and the accompanying weight lifted off their shoulders after an eight-year wait, it’s probable that the new champions will be even better in the foreseeable future. You couldn’t say that they were lucky to win on Sunday, but you’d know from their early profligacy especially that these Kerry players were feeling the pressure.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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