Well I have been absent for a good while now, ever since the league had started and this is due to a number of issues, circulating mainly with work and family. Its fair to say by Galway football standards it has been an interesting last few months and I would like to share some opinions with you all.
First of all, a word has to go out to our Under 21’s who have been crowned All Ireland champions for the first time since 2005. I must say I was over the moon as it gave us the lift we so badly needed before the championship. Its fair to say, even this team came in under the radar and they proved a lot of doubters wrong with four quality performances which ended with that illusive All Ireland title on the 1st of May.
The signals where there as they disposed of Sligo on the 1st round, and lets be honest it was a rout. Scoring 2-20 away from home in a Championship game no matter the opposition is something worth noting and the fine form continued in the Connacht final after easily dismantling the much hyped and current champions Roscommon in Pearse Stadium.
Cork where next to conquer and I must say I feared for the worst on the way down to Ennis, even though all the signs where there that Galway where a good outfit, it would be tested to the limits against a rampant Cork who hammered Kerry out the gate in their provincial final. I should have known it, Galway rose to the challenge and no doubt the game turned was when Michael Boyle got that all important goal to see Galway in by 2. It was a lift that everyone in the county needed, Cork where branded as one the best underage Cork teams in their history.. the hype got to them.
And then the holy grail of the All Ireland final against Cavan. Over 10 thousand blues made it to Dublin but they where disposed of easily and Galway never looked like losing. It was a massive performance for all involved, one of the proudest days since 1998 in terms of it was a title we really really needed due to our seniors being seen as being in massive decline.
Many players stood out throughout the campaign and Tomas O’ has reacted in accordance by promoting a dozen of them to the senior ranks! Alot of players come to mind, Colin Forde at full back was at his very best and a very worthy All Ireland winning captain. Tomas Fahy, Josh Moore and Johnny Duane also impressed in the half back line. Defensively the Galway seniors have been poor and maybe these guys if they keep improving can start pushing for places soon.
Fresh out of minor and straight into midfield for the u21’s, Tomas Flynn of Athenry and Fintan Curran, what exciting talents these guys are. 19 years old and dominating matches in midfield for Galway, it really is something fresh and both the lads have been training with the senior squad as far as my sources know. Moving onto the half forward line, Mark Herhir has been a revelation, fresh into intercounty football and he has been hailed as the future of the Galway forward line. Hard to disagree, he leads from the front and can score fine scores. Lets not forget Michael Boyle, Eric Monaghan and Mr. Speedy Gonzalez himself, Danny Cummins. They also, have been invited to join the senior team with a view of staking a place in the championship squad.
The future definitely looks rosy once again but its just a matter of bringing the guys through and I hope this can happen, as it hasn’t so so many times in the past.
Moving onto senior affairs.. Well what a mixed campaign it has been, in fairness we deserved to walk the plank and take the drop. Overall we haven’t played well, although coming towards the end of the campaign we salvaged some pride by drawing with Dublin and scoring a fantastic win away to Armagh, we haven’t been up to scratch.
The game against Mayo in Tuam is the one that is still vivid in my mind, what a disaster!. They walked through us with ease and I wondered where was the passion and what would Tomas do from here. Losing the opening game to Monaghan was always going to make it difficult, but with no passion, we will be nothing. As time went on the performances improved and that is something worth taking into consideration as the championship beckons.
What will Tomas do, who will he draft into the team from the u21’s? Is it too early for some of them? What will happen at midfield? Will Finian Hanley wait there or will he move back to his prime position at full back? Can Tomas Flynn or Fintan Curran make another massive step up to senior football?
So many questions and so many answers to be found. Mayo in Castlebar will be judgement day.
Just a word on the minors, during the Connacht league they scored wins against Leitrim and Longford, drew with Sligo and lost to Mayo and Roscommon. Not very encouraging but I hear where missing many of the Jarlaths contingent who were unlucky to lose the Hogan Cup final in April by a point against St. Colemans Newry.
So we may be relegated in senior but I would have taken it if I was told our u21’s would have an All Ireland in their back pocket so I cannot complain too much!