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Inside Track

Loughnane is out of line in labelling Galway ‘gutless’

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Former Galway manager Ger Loughnane who claims about the players currently wearing the maroon jersey are made of 'absolutely nothing'.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

GER Loughnane’s shadow hangs over Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling quarter-final between Clare and Galway in Thurles. A pundit with a track record of lowering the blade when it comes to critical assessment of individuals and teams, he went for the jugular altogether when labelling the Tribesmen as “gutless” in the wake of their Leinster final defeat to Kilkenny.

The former Clare manager has a strident personality and, in one sense, you’d admire his ability to call things as he sees them without fear or favour, but he really went too far in questioning Galway’s manliness after their loss to the Cats at Croke Park earlier this month. He didn’t hold back and basically accused the men in maroon of an abject surrender.

Considering that Loughnane was Galway boss for two years in 2007 and ’08 and worked with a few of the longer players on the current panel during that tenure, his outburst is even more incendiary. It’s like as though he’s still holding a grudge from those days over things not working out after his high profile appointment. Locals thought Loughnane was going to be the Messiah, but his two championship campaigns ended with a ten-point quarter-final defeat to Kilkenny and a somewhat humiliating loss to 14-man Cork respectively.

In the end, Loughnane got his marching papers and though subsequently he was adamant that there were no hard feelings in an interview for this newspaper ahead of the 2012 All-Ireland final, it’s almost as if he is taken some form of justification from Galway’s current struggles in accusing them of having “no guts whatsoever” after losing this year’s Leinster Final.

He didn’t spare Galway manager Micheal Donoghue either and isn’t impressed by his sideline demeanour. “Galway had a very aggressive manager in Cunningham, who was prepared to take on Brian Cody. Now they have a manager who reminds me of the Dermot Morgan character Fr Trendy from RTE in the 1980s. Donoghue comes across as an amiable curate coming into a new parish – and they’re expecting to win with him?

“Compare Donoghue’s body language on the sideline to that of Cody. You don’t need to be a genius to work out who is king of the jungle,” blasted Loughnane unfairly in his Star column on the day after the recent Leinster Final. He also said the Galway players were looking for a crutch and that the defeat to Kilkenny showed they were made of ‘absolutely nothing’. “You can forget about this Galway team. There’s always someone or something to blame. The manager, the trainer, the physio, the length of the grass on the training pitch, the weather,” he baldly stated.

By any standards, this is damning criticism. Sure, Donoghue could be a little more animated on the sideline – if only because supporters still like to see the people in charge fired-up – but Dublin’s successful football manager Jim Gavin often looks as though he watching just a game of tiddlywinks such is his relaxed gait. The merit of shouting and roaring, and running up and down the sideline remains questionable in the modern-era of such professional preparation anyway.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Shefflin gets a big reality check as Galway collapse against the Dubs

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Clarinbridge U20 players Cian Moore, Eoin Ryan, Oisin Shannon, Gavin Lee and Christy Brennan show their delight after defeating Castlegar in the County A Final at Duggan Park on Sunday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE most troubling aspect of the turkey shoot at Parnell Park on Sunday was that Dublin could have won by 25 points or more. Goodness knows, it was bad enough as it was with the Tribesmen being trounced on a 3-29 to 0-19 scoreline.

In retrospect, the warning signs were there in Ballinasloe the previous weekend when Galway took a long time to put Offaly away. The Midlanders may be improving, but they are coming from a very low base and haven’t even participated in the Leinster championship since 2018.

Galway were a shambles against Dublin despite fielding a slightly stronger line-out on paper. Darren Morrissey, Evan Niland and Niall Burke were back, while the inclusion of the Mannion brothers, Padraic and Cathal, beefed up their bench.

Yes, we know Dublin fielded a much stronger team; are difficult to beat at Parnell Park; and have overcome Galway in their last two championship meetings, but still the gulf in standard between the teams was startling. The Dubs were in a different league.

Henry Shefflin is not used to days like this and the difficulty for him is that his arrival in Galway has sparked an expectation that big things lie ahead of the Tribesmen in 2022. But regardless of the man in charge, supporters are ignoring the reality of the team’s fortunes over the past two years. One win in their last five championship matches tells its own story.

Galway do have some players to come back and it’s too early in the year to go all negative about their prospects, but what we saw in Parnell Park was alarming. Some of the players they are trying out are not up to it and while the Galway management need to unearth new talent, they must be more selective in this regard.

Six players who featured in last summer’s championship exit to Waterford were involved at one stage or another last Sunday: Morrissey, Niland, Burke, Gearoid McInerney, and the Mannions. Two more have retired since – Joe Canning and Aidan Harte – and another two, Shane Cooney (knee) and Jason Flynn (hamstring), are set to miss the championship.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

National Archives offer revealing window into Ireland’s recent past

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Uneasy alliance...Charlie Haughey and Margaret Thatcher on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I’ve been covering the political so long time now that I’m the one they send down every year to look at the records being released by the National Archives. It used to be that confidential Government documents were kept for 30 years under lock and key before they were released. Thus the material that would have been opened before Christmas would have been the records from 1991 –  the last year of Charlie Haughey’s era as Taoiseach.

But about seven years ago, the British changed the rules on their releases and gradually brought the confidential period down, year-by-year, from 30 down to 20. They are now at about 22 years.

This left the Irish State in a bit of pickle. If we kept our rule we would have been badly out of sync with the British.

What did that matter? Well, the main event as far as it concerns the Archives is the Anglo-Irish stuff. That’s all the meetings abut Northern Ireland between the Taoiseach of the day and the British prime minister – and all the stuff generated between other senior politicians and officials.

So over the past few years from the Irish archives, we have been learning of the extraordinary summits between Haughey and Thatcher, with her going on massive rants about the IRA and the Government here not doing enough to prevent IRA attacks, and the Gardaí being like Keystone Cops because they were using arcane methods to gather intelligence.

Which was all very well. But that stuff – and seen from the prism of Margaret Thatcher and her officials – has been in the public realm in Britain for at least six or seven years. So, to borrow a phrase from the Northern Ireland peace process, there was not full parity of esteem when it came to viewing the documents.

The media always get in about a week early to preview the documents and write up reports on what they say – they appear on the days that the documents are released.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Some words of caution for Galway – Shefflin alone won’t turn the tide

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Galway defenders Stephen Barrett and Gearóid McInerney tussling for possession with Offaly's John Murphy during Sunday's Walsh Cup tie at Duggan Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

HENRY Shefflin has been keeping a low profile since his stunning appointment as Galway hurling manager last October. No Interviews; no public appearances. Instead, the Kilkenny legend was getting familiar with a group of players he barely knew or cared about until a few months ago.

His arrival in Galway sparked huge excitement and, of course, expectation. But until Sunday’s Walsh Cup encounter against Offaly at a heaving Duggan Park, Shefflin would have been largely cocooned from the impact his taking over of the Tribesmen was having. Over 3,000 people at a tournament fixture in early January says it all.

Only for Covid restrictions, there would have been twice that number in Ballinasloe. As a great player, Shefflin has been dealing with pressure all his life, but coming west is a different ball game altogether. On the field, the Ballyhale man influenced outcomes on a consistent basis. Apart from his incredible scoring feats, his vision was also extraordinary.

He was also the de facto leader of the greatest hurling team ever seen. In the 2012 All-Ireland final replay against Galway, Kilkenny were struggling but Shefflin’s switch to the forty turned the game. Nobody how good his tactical acumen is, he will never have that kind of impact on matches from the Galway sideline.

There is a belief out there that Shefflin getting involved with the Galway hurlers will transform their fortunes nearly overnight. Sure, his presence alone will energise the squad as will his status as a winner, but he is not a miracle worker. Remember too, Galway have lost four of their last five championships games and at one stage in their defeat to Waterford in 2021, they were an embarrassing 16 points behind.

Furthermore, Joe Canning – Galway’s greatest ever hurler – and the ultra-dependable Aidan Harte have hung up their inter-county boots in the interim. A few more, notably David Burke, Johnny Coen, Joseph Cooney and Gearóid McInerney, are raging against the passage of time.

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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