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Shefflin demands more of squad after confirming Cooney injury blow

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Shefflin demands more of squad after confirming Cooney injury blow Shefflin demands more of squad after confirming Cooney injury blow

GALWAY hurlers have suffered a significant injury blow with the news that attacker Kevin Cooney faces several months out of action due to a severe hamstring injury.

Cooney had limped off near the end of Galway’s Walsh Cup final defeat to Wexford in Portlaoise a couple of weeks ago, and the Sarsfields player has already undergone surgery on his serious hamstring tear.

Galway manager Henry Shefflin confirmed the extent of Cooney’s injury in the wake of the Tribesmen’s trouncing of Westmeath in the opening round of the National League at Pearse Stadium last Sunday.

“Kevin is a long-term injury. Unfortunately, he has suffered a bad hamstring injury, and the surgery was completed yesterday. It’s going to be a long road for Kevin, a four or five month job. We will just have to wait and see how it progresses. It’s very disappointing for him.

“He was eager this year to push on and add more maturity to his game in becoming a focal point for us up front. Kevin offers so much in terms of speed and skill, and can play wing, corner or full forward. He will be a big loss.”

Ahead of Sunday’s second round league clash with Tipperary in Thurles (3.45pm), Shefflin revealed that Galway had cut their extended league panel to 36, with Alex Connaire, Greg Thomas, David Concannon, Sean O’Hanlon, Oisín Salmon, Adrian Prendergast, and Martin McManus all cut adrift.

The Galway manager also disclosed that the county’s lone All-Star in 2023 Conor Whelan will captain the team this year, with St Thomas’ long-serving skipper Conor Cooney taking over as vice-captain.

Shefflin admitted he was left frustrated with Galway’s opening-half display against Westmeath, condemning the team for a “sloppy effort” which wouldn’t be good enough or acceptable for Sunday’s trip to Semple Stadium.

“I’m very disappointed, especially with out first-half. We had a bad performance last week [against Wexford] and it was important that we stepped up on that. But we were sloppy, very casual in our play, and I don’t think there are any excuses for that.

“Yes, the second-half was better but we know if we perform like we did in the first-half in Thurles next Sunday, the game will be over by half-time. Every day you wear the jersey, you should go out with the right intent and set the right footing, so from that point of view that was the disappointing thing.”

He says the game with Tipperary will be an acid test and it’s what Galway are looking for at this time of the year. “It will bring real focus to next week’s training. Our second-half was better today but Westmeath fell away as they had put in such a big effort early on.”

Shefflin was delighted that the likes of Daithí Burke, Darren Morrissey, Sean Linnane and Conor Whelan got some game time against Westmeath, and is hoping that the thumb injury which forced Declan McLoughlin’s retirement isn’t too serious.

Pictured: Galway’s Sean Linnane eyes up his options against Westmeath’s Peter Clarke during Sunday’s National Hurling League clash at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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