Shane Walsh: 'I'm in awe of Michael Meehan'
By John Harrington
Shane Walsh says Michael Meehan’s return to the Galway football panel has been a massive boost for everyone in the camp.
Meehan retired from inter-county football three years ago due to a chronic ankle injury but joined up again with the panel at the end of February.
And Walsh has revealed that when he walked back into the dressing-room for the first time he gave his team-mates the best sort of shock possible.
“I was delighted,” says Walsh. “He's just such a presence in the dressing-room. I remember when he walked into the dressing-room, the place nearly froze just in awe of him.
“He's such a nice man Mikey, he's so passionate about football and he's so passionate about Galway and his club. He's the right man you want there. Those are the kind of players you want to see representing your county.”
Walsh grew up wanting to be like Meehan, and he doesn’t mind admitting his hero-worship remains as devout as ever.
“100%. I'd be in awe of Mikey. I went to all the Caltra games when they won the All-Ireland.
“He's such a classy player. He ticks all the boxes, he's aggressive, physically strong, able to take a score, his decision making is very good. He's the type of player that every young player can look up to.”
Walsh excelled for Galway on Sunday as they defeated Kildare to secure promotion from Division Two of the Allianz Football League, and he admits finally making the jump back up to Division One feels like a monkey off the back after so many years of trying.
"Yeah definitely. I remember going to Galway games when they were in Division 1 and I always said I'd love to be playing in those kind of games.
“Every year you're striving to make progression, I felt that this year we've made it to get up to Division 1. I think we've done it the best way possible. We only lost one game by a point and we drew one game and won the rest. That's the way you want to go up.
“When we started the league campaign, we were looking to get promoted. Yesterday when the full time whistle went, it was just delight to hear it because we knew we were promoted to Division 1 and we were in top table.
“Everything we've put into training and matches, we got our reward yesterday. It's just a brilliant feeling to know we'll be at the top table next year.
“The panel is in a great place at the moment. There's such a positive feel in the camp. It's hard for anyone to be negative. Everyone is just buying in to what we're doing.”
Promotion was the main goal, but if they can also win some silverware by beating Kildare again in Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division 2 Final, then it will surely only add to the good vibes in the camp.
“A final in Croke Park, for us as players that doesn't come around too often,” says Walsh. "This is only my second final as a player, I'll be looking to try and make up for the one I lost the first time (2011 Hogan Cup with St. Jarlath's).
“For the supporters, it's a brilliant experience for them. Galway have always great history in Croke Park, we'll be looking to write our own history on Sunday when there's a trophy on the table.”