Walsh content as Galway give the Dubs a scare in football league final

Galway attacker Eamonn Brannigan takes on John Small of Dublin during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final at Croke Park on Sunday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.
Galway attacker Eamonn Brannigan takes on John Small of Dublin during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final at Croke Park on Sunday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

WHILE there was disappointment etched on the face of Galway manager, Kevin Walsh, in the aftermath of the league final defeat to Dublin, there was too a sense of satisfaction that they had for long periods ‘put it up’ to the Dubs.

For Walsh and his charges, a 2018 league final appearance against Dublin in Croke Park was real bonus territory, in terms of getting a big game under their belts before the critical Connacht championship first-round clash against Mayo.

“While I am of course disappointed with the result, this has been a big learning curve for our players. Overall, I would have been happy enough with the performance but it’s a final, the second biggest competition we play in, and disappointing to lose,” said Walsh.

However, he is happy that a number of new players have been ‘well blooded’ through the course of the league campaign and he spoke of five players who tasted action in Sunday’s final who had ‘never kicked a championship ball’.

One of the big lessons to be learned from the Dubs, he said, was their ability to retain possession when the pressure came on and when they were down to 14 men for the last 20 minutes.

“Dublin have been around the block for a long time and that experience stands to them on big days like this. We did have one or two chances near the end that we could have put away and we did concede a few late points, but overall the performance was very encouraging,” he said.

The Galway manager was reluctant to get involved in any criticism of Wicklow referee, Anthony Nolan, who was the target of some ‘attention’ from the maroon supporters over a number of decisions that went the way of Dublin.

“I wasn’t close enough to see exactly what happened in a number of those decisions. The referee was and I suppose that’s his job.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.