GALWAY great Liam Sammon may be a football purist who is largely abhorred by the modern, ultra-defensive game but even he concedes he would sacrifice his ideals for another All-Ireland senior football championship medal.
As a classy sharpshooter, Sammon, corner forward on Galway’s All-Ireland winning side that completed the three-in-a-row in 1966, was poetry in motion and this was evident by the three All-Star awards he collected during his inter-county career between 1966 and 1979.
In that time, he appeared in four All-Ireland finals, with his only victory coming in his debut year of ’66. The other deciders – 1971 v Offaly, 1973 v Cork and 1974 v Dublin – all ended in utter heartbreak, more so given Sammon captained the Tribesmen in ’71 and ’73.
Throughout his career though, he was regarded as a stylist and so the modern game is quite simply alien to him. And he says as much over the course of the interview. However, when asked would he sacrifice style of play for another All-Ireland medal, he can’t help but laugh.
“Well . . . Ah Jaysus, I would of course but in saying that could we win the other way as well? I would contend that we could,” says Sammon, who managed Galway between late 2007 and 2009, leading the county to a Connacht SFC title in 2008.
That said, he can understand why Galway has adopted many of the traits of the modern game – primarily a defensive set-up – and no one is more delighted than him to see the county in the shake-up for All-Ireland honours in 2018.
“It has been a great run so far really. In many ways, it is unexpected because at the start of the year there was all sorts of talk of us going back down (relegated from Division 1 of the National League). Whereas, we ended up in a National League final, which was marvellous.”
Of course, Galway followed this up with victories over Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon to claim the Connacht crown before they saw off Kerry and Kildare to qualify for this weekend’s All-Ireland semi-finals. Consequently, he says last Saturday’s defeat to Monaghan cannot be taken as face value.
“It was a bit disappointing on Saturday evening but you would have to question our frame of mind. I would say it was very difficult knowing you were in the semi-final already to be as committed as Monaghan were. When any team then gets a run at you – like Monaghan did – it is pretty hard to get back into the frame of mind that is needed to save games like that.”
He doesn’t doubt though the Galway players did their best on the evening but, again, he notes the sub conscious mind is a powerful weapon and, in many respects, it would have been thinking of an All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park the following weekend.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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