Declan Kyne happy to seize Galway chance
By Cian O'Connell
Attaining a satisfactory level of consistency has been Galway’s chief objective under Kevin Walsh and Declan Kyne acknowledges that encouraging signs are available.
While an ankle injury is likely to rule Galway’s Declan Kyne out of Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division One encounter against Cavan the fact that the Tribesmen reached their first All Ireland Semi-Final since 2001 last year is a source of optimism.
Galway had stitched a seven match unbeaten sequence together in the League before eventually losing in the decider against Dublin, but valuable experience was gleaned according to Kyne.
“We had to target the League last year, to try to push on from there,” Kyne says. “A lot of teams didn't expect us to be so sticky with what we were doing, to not give up or whatever. We had been maybe inconsistent, but last year we concentrated on getting a good start and trying to remain consistent throughout the League. It worked.
“It is one thing we worked on a lot. In every game we targeted a certain amount of things, you had certain goals for each game. Small things like that made it easier overall in a game to get a good performance.”
Suddenly Galway are being viewed as a respected outfit once more and Kyne stressing the importance of remaining in the top tier. “Definitely, yeah,” the Clonbur clubman states. “Getting to Division One has a lot to do with that you are competing with Mayo, Tyrone, Dublin, Monaghan, the whole lot, we were beating them and putting it up to them.
“As long as you are doing that and you stay in Division One you are always playing the top teams and will be considered a top team yourself. It is important to stay in Division One, to keep the intensity up throughout the year.”
Throughout his tenure in charge Walsh has repeatedly afforded emerging players opportunities with Kyne satisfied to make an impact when called upon in the Connacht FBD League back in 2015.
“It is always about trying to improve yourself as well as the team,” Kyne remarks. “Kevin is a very good coach like that. He does a lot of individual stuff to improve the skills and stuff. He always tries to give a player a chance, to improve their skills, to get them to reach their potential.
“He tries to give everyone a chance. Even this year, I know the FBD League format changed, but we still had a lot of challenge matches in the background that people don't see. He gave a lot of players a chance to prove how good they are. There has still been a lot of games that the public haven't seen and they have been given a chance to play.
“A lot of people look at matches, but it is in training where you get your position. Kevin sees everything you are doing in training for the last four or five years three times a week, it is what you are doing in training, trying to improve yourself. That is what puts you on the team. Once you are on the team then it us up to you to hold on to your spot.”
It is precisely what Kyne has managed to achieve since inspiring Clonbur to AIB All Ireland Junior success in 2012. Stephen Joyce, an influential figure in the Galway game, left an impact.
“We have a lot of good people in the club, Stephen Joyce would be the famous one in the club, he played with Galway for a long time,” Kyne adds.
“He won a League himself in the eighties. We've had a lot of good characters in the club, who have always tried to help you out whenever you're stuck to help you on. We are only a Junior club, struggling for numbers really, struggling to get a team. As long as you put the work in trying to get on the county panel it is possible.
“When you are playing Junior it is hard because there aren't too many people at the matches. When Kevin took over he had a big trial campaign, he looked at everyone in the county really. That is when I got my chance and opportunity, and I took it.”
Though Galway’s League schedule is demanding with four away games against Dublin, Monaghan, Mayo, and Tyrone significant confidence was taken from the 2018 campaign. “I think that is what we needed really,” Kyne states. “We have a very good group of players, a good panel with a lot of talented players.
“It was just to realise we were capable of competing with the best if we put in the work, if we trained hard enough and believed in ourselves that we were capable of doing it.
“Belief is a big thing. You can't show too much respect for your opposition. You can't be afraid to play anyone and we aren't, but you still need to believe in yourself and put in the hard work to back it up. With that anything is possible.”