THE temptation to excuse Galway’s heavy defeat to the All-Ireland champions at Croke Park on Saturday night due to the absence of so many regulars must be avoided. That would be a lazy post-match narrative and would only serve to let the Tribesmen off the hook.
The bottom line is that Galway still had a fair core of experienced performers on duty against Dublin – eleven of them featured in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Jim Gavin’s men – but the manner in which their challenge collapsed in the second-half must was disappointing.
The most damning statistic from Galway’s second round National League loss was that they could only manage a solitary point from play from the 23rd minute to the final whistle. A match total of just seven also underlines the attacking woes of the Connacht champions.
Of course, the absence of Paul Conroy, Eamonn Brannigan, Damien Comer, All-Star Ian Burke, Michael Daly, Declan Kyne and Liam Silke was a big handicap, especially against a team of Dublin’s calibre, but Galway didn’t help themselves by being so careless in possession.
To team manager Kevin Walsh’s credit afterwards, he wasn’t focusing on the players not available to Galway, but rather their own mistakes which made a slow-burning Dublin’s task all the easier. He rightly prioritised the shocking number of second-half turnovers – over a dozen – which undid some hard running out the field.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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