Kevin Walsh: 'The panel is definitely deeper'
By Cian O'Connell
“No, it’s relentless, it is," Galway manager Kevin Walsh responds when asked has he ever had to deal with injury issues as a manager as much as in 2019.
Galway have been ravaged by ailments throughout the campaign with captain Damien Comer unlikely to feature in Sunday's Connacht SFC Final against Roscommon and the promising Kieran Molloy a severe doubt.
"It’s tough to handle," Walsh adds. "It’s a heavy workload on backroom teams as well and even County Boards I’m sure. At the end of the year you’ll see it’ll be heavy on them because you have huge numbers in, trying to balance the whole thing is tough. I suppose the long-term injuries were long-term so at some point we kind of knew there was a time frame on them so we had to deal with it.
"If all that happened to come last month and you hadn’t the other guys to come in in the National League, at least we had that warning time to try to develop other players so that’s been the plus side. It’s been a tough year with injuries, yeah."
Molloy dislocated a shoulder in the provincial semi-final against Sligo, but overcame that issue before suffering an ankle problem at training. "He actually twisted his ankle during the week so it’s going to be nip and tuck whether he’s ok to play or not, unfortunately," Walsh confirmed.
"The shoulder has been giving him a problem over the years. Long-term he’ll have to look after it, but it’s one of those injuries that it keeps popping out and it goes back in.
"He had recovered fully so he’s under pressure at the minute with the ankle. It only happened last week. He’s in a fight against time at the minute. Hopefully. We won’t rule him out, but he’s under a bit of pressure."
Comer's absence throughout the campaign has been a blow, but Walsh stresses Galway's approach can be altered.
"There are not too many Damien Comer’s in the country, to be honest," Walsh remarks. "But, at the same time, it depends on the opposition. If the area is crowded, there is only so much ball that you can kick in that won’t be coming back out twice as fast.
"Damien is an option that not too many in the country have. We are missing him at the minute so we just have to work around that."
Following the May 19 triumph over Sligo, Walsh is encouraged that several injured players including Paul Conroy, Declan Kyne, Adrian Varley, Sean Kelly, and Peter Cooke have returned to training.
"We can’t complain about the timelines, they were reasonably good this year," Walsh says. "We knew where we were and we knew the timelines with regard to different players getting back, but that opened the door for a lot of different players during the League.
"We are not going to complain about that. One of the things we are trying to do here is to develop the panel so we can sustain those injuries and sustain those people who might be missing for whatever reason.
"That’s a long-term goal that comes together for the future, but, sometimes, it is short-term pain for long-term gain. Certainly, some fellas have stepped up which is good and the panel is definitely deeper."