Shane Walsh hopes Galway footballers can raise level again in 2023
By John Harrington
Shane Walsh is hopeful the Galway footballers will build on this year’s run to the All-Ireland Final and challenge hard for the Sam Maguire Cup again in 2023.
He believes the experience of playing in their first ever All-Ireland Final and pushing Kerry all the way can only improve them as a collective.
“None of the group had played in an All-Ireland final,” said Walsh when he was announced today as the PWC GAA/GPA Footballer of the Month for July.
“The only person person that could talk about was Padraic [Joyce] and Divvo [John Divilly].
“For all of us to experience the build-up to it and supporters getting behind us, the good gestures before and after the game like the homecoming, it was lovely to see that.
“It has definitely whet the appetite for the group to get there again and finish the job. But there is work to be done. At the end of it all we fell short in the All-Ireland final.
“We realise that and we have to go back down, take the break we need and get back at it again then. Lads are eager to get going again whenever we do get going.
“Padraic hasn't shied away from saying that Galway should be challenging for All-Ireland titles. The set-up was class.
“We grew as the year went on, that was all down to the backroom team and the challenge they laid out. We grew stride for stride every game we played. Just unfortunate the way it finished out in the end.”
Walsh was outstanding in the All-Ireland Final, scoring nine points, four of which were sublime efforts from play. He was played in a more advanced position than he had been earlier in the campaign, and woke up on the morning of the match confident he was going to rise to the occasion.
"We saw an opportunity going after your direct opponent, and I was thinking that 'this is the day you wanted, this is the day you dream of, so go and express yourself'", he said.
"Up until the morning of that game I probably was putting that pressure on myself, but when I woke up that morning it was probably the best I've ever felt going into a game.
"I was relaxed and chilled. I was chatting to Sinead our nutritionist that morning, and I was very easy-going - she couldn't get over how relaxed I was.
"I just said that 'I know I am going to be fine today' and she was a bit stunned, probably thinking 'Jesus you should put some pressure on yourself to play' but at the same time, that was just the way it was.
"A big thing for me was knowing your 'why', like my family were there, and my family have bent over backwards for me to allow me to do what I do on a football field, and I wanted to make them proud. That's what means the most, because family is everything."