Galway need to hit top gear to topple champs

Galway attacker Shane Walsh on the ball against Monaghan's Colin Walshe during the All-Ireland football championship Super 8s tie at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Enda Noone.

THE Galway senior footballers didn’t become a bad team overnight. They played badly last Saturday evening at Pearse Stadium. Really badly.

But surely there’s a kick in them now, as they face the might of Dublin at GAA headquarters in an All-Ireland semi-final (5pm)?

If you can’t get motivated for the Dubs at close-on a full-house at Croke Park, with a vociferous sea of blue on Hill 16, then you shouldn’t be playing Gaelic football.

The Tribesmen will be up for it – they’ll have to be – but whether they have the wherewithal to do what other teams have failed to do in 26 previous championship outings over the past four seasons is another question entirely.

Galway haven’t time to reflect on the below-par display against Monaghan in the final round of the Super 8s in Salthill . . . they have to park it and somehow rekindle the form that helped them draw with the Dubs at Pearse Stadium in the last round of the League, and push them close in the League Final at Croke Park.

It’s hard to believe but most of the Galway minor footballers, who line-out against Meath in the curtain-raiser at 3pm, weren’t even born the last time Galway featured in an All-Ireland senior football final. Times flies and all that but 17 years out in the wilderness during the business-end of the All-Ireland series would work up a hunger for success.

Saturday’s loss at the hands of the Ulster men isn’t the ideal preparations, with a seven-day turnaround, but it means they haven’t too much time to dwell on it.

Galway were flat, and Monaghan, who needed a result to reach the last four, were well up for it. It’s a nonsense to suggest Galway would ‘let’ Monaghan win, and Kevin Walsh would have had his charges fired-up for the visit of the Northerners but for whatever reason they just never got motoring.

Supporters tend to be fickle but the flak on social media directed at the Tribesmen over this below-par performance was at times over the top. Yes, losing at home was a downer but surely Galway had accumulated enough credit in the bank so far this season to be cut some slack for an off-day?

The hurlers’ achievement of reaching a second consecutive All-Ireland final has perhaps unfairly overshadowed the preparations of the footballers but a sizeable crowd from the county is expected to travel to the capital . . . probably in hope more than expectation.

See full preview and analysis in this week’s Tribune Sport.

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