Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Inside Track

Troubled Galway must come out with fire in their bellies

Published

on

Inside Track with John McIntyre

GALWAY football supporters may have developed a certain immunity to feelings of disappointment and frustration over the past decade such has been the scale of poor results for the Tribesmen, but none of them would have been prepared for the disaster which unfolded in Portlaoise on Saturday evening . . . for this was a shocker of extreme proportions.

Even by the standards of Galway’s ongoing struggles, a 15-point drubbing by second-raters Laois has led to almost unprecedented consternation and despair in the county’s football heartlands. It represents arguably Galway’s worst league defeat in living memory and has heaped renewed pressure on manager Alan Mulholland and his misfiring squad.

Galway shouldn’t be this bad, but they are. Managers are nearly always the fall guys in such situations, but the players can’t be allowed to duck their responsibilities either for an alarming trouncing which has left fans demoralised and searching for answers. The killing part was that it had looked a decent enough team – at least, on paper – assembled by Mulholland and his mentors for the trip to the midlands.

There was a fair clutch of All-Ireland winning U-21 players in Galway’s ranks, there was no shortage of experience either and with eight of the squad involved in Connacht’s long-awaited Inter-provincial triumph at Tuam Stadium the previous weekend, the expectation was that the men in maroon had a fighting chance of getting off the mark in Division Two.

But Galway hardly fought at all in O’Moore Park. Instead, they were embarrassingly submissive against a well-organised and tactically smarter Laois outfit. The lack of leadership in the squad is an old chestnut by this stage, but it was the lack of pride reportedly evident on Saturday evening which has put the spotlight on the players’ mindset and bottle.

At least, Galway had played in parts in difficult opening league assignments against Meath and Donegal, but they collapsed altogether in what had been perceived as the most winnable of the team’s early group fixtures. Now facing a desperate battle against relegation, Galway need to stop the rot as quickly as possible before the damage becomes irretrievable in the short term.

Against Laois, they were too lateral; too laboured in possession; lacking directness; and off the pace. It all contributed to a nightmare performance and the writing was on the wall when they trailed by 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval having been backed by the wind. Midfielder Kevin Meaney’s goal was the result of a turnover in the Galway defence and with Ross Munnelly and Donal Kingston kicking points for sport, Laois more or less controlled the battleground.

Naturally, it will be difficult for the management and players to lift themselves after such a humiliating defeat, but they have no choice. Every game is different and Galway do have the potential to be much better than this. Feeling sorry is no remedy and they must take a leaf out of the books of the Dublin hurlers. Remember, they were abject against Galway in the first round of the league at Pearse Stadium only to turn it around with an aggressive, high intensity effort which floored Clare just seven days later.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Dream year for Maigh Cuilinn ends with club’s first ever Connacht title

Published

on

Maigh Cuilinn's Michéal O’Reilly on the attack against Oisin Kennedy of Tourlestrane during Sunday's Connacht Club Senior Football Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Watching Maigh Cuilinn dismantling Westport a few weeks ago, you could never imagine the Galway champions failing to score from play in a half-hour’s football as they chased an historic first ever Connacht title.  Perhaps, the warning signs were there in Maigh Cuilinn’s subsequent struggles against Strokestown in the provincial semi-final when they required extra-time and a terrific individual display from Seán Kelly, together with the accuracy of Owen Gallagher, to eventually fend off the Roscommon men.

After that scare, we presumed Maigh Cuilinn would cut a dash in last Sunday’s Connacht final, especially that they were back on their favourite hunting ground at Pearse Stadium and the opposition was being provided by the Sligo champions Tourlestrane.

But every game is different and with Fergal O’Donnell’s team setting up defensively on a cold December day and having the advantage of the wind in the opening half, Maigh Cuilinn had to be content with a paltry tally of four points – all from Dessie Conneely’s frees – up to the interval.

Compared to their free-scoring outing against Westport, Maigh Cuilinn were having to dig deep and be patient against teams adopting a conservative approach. Their players aren’t robots either and it’s been a long season for the Galway title holders, especially their swathe of county players.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Superb St Thomas’ take dominance of Galway club hurling to new level

Published

on

St Thomas’ Victor Manso is about to pounce on this loose ball against Dylan Shaughnessy of Loughrea during Sunday's Galway Senior Hurling Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Barely five minutes after Sunday’s thrilling Galway hurling final replay at Pearse Stadium, the clouds burst open – raining more misery on a Loughrea team which had covered themselves in glory for the second week running only to discover that their best wasn’t quite good enough.

Of course, Loughrea could have won both the drawn final and replay, and there were times where St Thomas’ were hanging on for dear life, but they were unable to close the deal. They weren’t let, for starters, as the champions enhanced their reputation for getting out of tight corners in Galway.

In the days between the two matches, you’re wondering what either finalist can do differently to give them an edge; what switches might be made; or what new tactical approach might they bring to the battlefield. Mark Caulfield would hardly have featured in any of that conjecture.

He’s a big unit but inexperienced at this level. He was promoted to centre back in the continued absence of Shane Cooney and was doing enough to stay on the team. Caulfield, however, only lasted until half-time last Sunday week and you sensed he was about to make way for the fit-again county defender.

Cooney, however, jarred a hamstring in training which ended that plan. Instead, St Thomas’ turned to former Galway captain David Burke to take over at centre back. If those on the outside had got wind of that, you’d be left thinking that there would be no place for Caulfield at all.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Loughrea’s standing is enhanced as champions pushed to the wire

Published

on

St Thomas' Victor Manso and Darragh Burke tussling for possession with Johnny Coen and Brian Keary of Loughrea during Sunday's County Hurling Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

EVEN the might Kilkenny hurlers couldn’t manage it in 2010 which underlines how difficult the challenge was for St Thomas’ to complete their own ‘Drive for Five’ at Pearse Stadium last Sunday. Breaking new ground is never easy for the best of teams, but at least the Galway champions will have a second crack at it.

They entered the 2022 county final as heavy favourites to capture a fifth consecutive Galway title despite five of their team – it would have been six only for James Regan’s injury – having started in the club’s historic triumph of ten years ago. It was their first appearance in a final and it heralded a period of unexpected domination which has resulted in six championships in a decade.

Having won every final they have featured in up to now, St Thomas’ have it down to a fine art in taking care of business on the big days that matter. But they were shaken to the core in Salthill and, at times in a great game, you felt their time at the top was about to come to an end. Four points down with eight minutes of normal time remaining. St Thomas’ had never previously faced such a crisis in a county final.

Typically, their response spoke volumes for the team’s resilience and talent. A late goal and two points from the outstanding Éanna Burke looked to have turned the tide in their favour, and they were seconds away from celebrating a milestone achievement – only done twice before by Castlegar and Turloughmore in Galway.

It would have represented the crowning glory for the glorious club careers of the Burke brothers, David, Cathal, Darragh and Éanna – a utilised sub in 2012 – Conor Cooney and Bernard Burke, but fairytales don’t happen as often in sport as some people would like to think. St Thomas’ have to do it all over again but, on the balance play last Sunday, they should be grateful for that opportunity.

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending