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Galway manager Kevin Walsh.

Galway manager Kevin Walsh.

Kevin Walsh: ‘It’s important to take whatever silverware is there’

By William Dunne

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Galway manager Kevin Walsh was delighted with the ‘character’ the Tribesmen demonstrated at Croke Park when defeating Kildare in the Allianz Football League Division Two Final.

“Not necessarily” Walsh responded to whether going up as champions or not was a priority. “I think that it’s important to take whatever silverware is there, when its facing you.

“I think when you look at the end of the year and see how many pieces of silverware is available there’s not so many so when you get to finals it’s important to try to win it”, he added.

Kildare were three points up during the second half while Walsh’s side were seemingly struggling, they responded impressively.

“That’s the beauty of these conditions that it tests character. The boys never lie down which is great. I suppose some of the moments that define you is if you’re able to do it or not, so that’s important to be able to experience it,” Walsh said.

Plenty of talk leading up to today’s final surrounded the fact that Kildare had made 13 changes to their starting line-up on top of making 14 changes the week before when the two sides met.

However, Walsh felt that those changes have the possibility to go against either team.

Walsh said: “People forget that all those subs that come in on both sides today are every bit as good as those who started. So sometimes that can actually work against you but that’s pressure and that’s good to feel that.”

Kildare manger Colin O’Neill was visibly disappointed putting the loss partly down to the nerves, but he feels progress has been made.

“I felt it particularly when we came out onto the pitch for the pre-match warm up that I just felt that there was a little bit of nerves there. And it was a nervy first half to be fair,” O’Neill said.

“Just some of the basic things we didn’t get right and that will happen and in fairness Galway played as well as they had to play to win the match so it’s just a pity we didn’t perform as well as we can.”

“It is frustrating because I mean sometimes the lads worked so hard to get into great positions and then for whatever reason – bad luck, loss of concentration, a simple turnover happening – and that’s bad enough in itself but when the opposition score from that it’s almost like a double whammy,” O’Neill stated.

“This is a young team, this is a very, very young team and they have exceeded all expectations in terms of finishing in the top two and being promoted.

“I think today, now in retrospect, is all going to be about how to learn, in the learning experience and not just the fact that we lost the match.”

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