The jury remains out on summer prospects of inconsistent Galway

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Where are Galway hurlers at? We presumed Sunday’s National League encounter against Tipperary would enlighten us a little, especially after the team management culled seven players in the wake of the disappointing Walsh Cup final defeat to Wexford in Dr Cullen Park.

Among those who didn’t make the cut in reducing the league panel to 36 were Seán O’Hanlon, Alex Connaire, and Martin McManus, but would this trio have fared any worse than several of the players who struggled against Tipperary?

Of course, there is an element of subjectivity when it comes to adjudicating the worth and potential of players, but the difficulty for Henry Shefflin and company is that little separates so many individuals on their watch. Two years ago, McManus was hailed as a rising star during Loughrea’s progress to the country final, but he is now seemingly surplus to requirements.

We have some sympathy too for O’Hanlon. He did well at wing back in the Walsh Cup against Dublin, only to be dispatched up front a week later in the final. Connaire too didn’t do badly the couple of times we saw him in maroon colours, but like O’Hanlon and McManus, he will now only have club hurling to look forward to in 2024.

After being blitzed by Limerick in the second-half of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, Shefflin would have been acutely aware of the need to freshen up the squad and to find at least a couple of players who might thrive in the championship. Unfortunately, so far in 2024, little has changed bar Cianan Fahy’s successful switch to the half-back line.

For a long time, Daithí Burke and Gearóid McInerney have locked down the heart of the Galway defence. Neither started against Tipperary and, in their absence, it was disconcerting to see the lack of authority in front of Darach Fahy. Supporters often crab McInerney, but he is a formidable competitor, especially when the stakes are high.

Pictured: Dunmore Community School players celebrate after winning the Connacht Post Primary Senior B Football Final at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, Bekan on Saturday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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