McInerney expecting Galway to improve for Cork challenge
By John Harrington
After eight seasons of championship hurling and at the age of 31, Gearoid McInerney has learned the value of parking a defeat as quickly as possible.
Galway underperformed in the Leinster Final loss to Kilkenny, but when you live to fight another day it’s best to look to the future rather than obsess about the past.
Lessons have to be learned, but McInerney is doing his best to keep a positive mindset as Galway now prepare for Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Cork.
“We were very disappointed in our performance,” he said.
“We’re kind of looking at ourselves individually and how to improve for the next day, get yourself right, get the mindset right, try not to think about it too much and move on from there. It does hurt, of course, losing a final. But the fact is we’re still in it.
“The main thing is to try and get the performance. When you get the performance, you’re 90% there. You put yourself in a good position to win the game. So the best we can do is focus on getting our performance right for the next day.”
The powerful centre-back is very much one of the leaders of this Galway team both on and off the pitch.
A number of young faces have come onto the panel in the last couple of years, and he’s done his best to pass on solid advice as much as he can.
“It’s good to have been there before and try use that experience you have from other years,” he said.
“I suppose it’s a bit different year-on-year, I suppose with Covid as well it was very difficult, no crowds at games. Every year seems so much different. It’s good to have experience, but year-on-year it just changes so much.
“The squad is changing, evolving year-on-year. I suppose no more so than this year.
“There’s a few new faces in and people performing very good in training and matches, so it’s great to see a few new faces coming through.
“Very important to have that strong 26, people trying to break into that. It’s very hard, tough job for the management team; Henry, Joycy and Kevin Lally to pick the best 26.”
Thomas Monaghan is one of those who has done a good job of showing what’s required to make up the mind of management for them and force your way into the starting XV.
He made his debut for the Tribesmen back in 2017 but after some time out of favour is now very much making the most of his second coming.
An athletic midfielder who is very comfortable in attacking areas of the field, he’s hit an impressive 14 points from play so far in the Championship.
“He has stepped up massively,” says McInerney of Monaghan. “He moved away from the panel and he’s back on it again this year. That was going off club form.
“Obviously Henry and the lads have been watching club games during the year and they felt his performances were good enough. And he’s brought that form onto the intercounty team.
"The message is there that if you’re hurling well in training games or you’re hurling well with the club, there’s an opportunity to break into it. That’s the way it should be. It keeps lads on their toes. That’s the way it should be.”