Kevin Walsh satisfied with Galway's improvement
By Cian O'Connell
Becoming a consistent team is one of the chief missions Kevin Walsh wanted to accomplish as Galway manager.
So the past couple of years have brought plenty of encouraging moments with several irksome itches scratched. Two Connacht titles in three years have been registered, while Galway also reached a first All Ireland semi-final since 2001.
On the eve of the Connacht Championship opener against London Walsh is content with how the Tribesmen have developed.
In 15 Allianz Football League Division One matches in 2018 and 2019 Galway have won 10, drawn one, and lost four.
Significant progress has been made. "If we were sitting here two years ago that was one word that stood out at the time, consistency," Walsh admits. "In Division One depth of panel would be something we have looked at.
"That's a positive from the League, the fact that the club commitments and the long term injuries that we were quite comfortable in Division One so that was nice to see and obviously again back to consistency so long term again you would like to have a situation that the team can work even when there are fellas missing.
"To a certain extent that happened in Division One which was good."
Considering Galway were depleted injury wise this spring Walsh was encouraged by how his mixture of emerging and established players fared.
"It was positive to be honest," Walsh reflects. "When you get to point where you could have gone further you would be annoyed for a day and maybe a bit after, but overall if you look at what they wanted to achieve with what we had at the start of the League.
"It was about trying to get a few players to step up and maybe for some of the older players to improve in form.
"I think both of those things happened which was good bar 10 minutes of a bit of madness in the Tyrone game we played well enough to go on to finish it.
"We didn't do it. We got a black card at the wrong time, a double yellow led to a red at the wrong time. Then one or two poor mistakes to let two goals in. But overall we would be quite happy with what we did."
Last year's Championship campaign ended in disappointing fashion with losses to Monaghan and Dublin.
Before the Monaghan game at Pearse Stadium Galway had already secured their passage to the penultimate stage so it was a curious spell.
“I would have said if we had a poor first half I would question it, but we had something like 18 chances to Dublin’s 12 in the first half," Walsh states.
“Three goal chances, they had a half a goal chance and they got it. We had ample opportunities to be five or six points up at half time and it wasn’t lack of performance.
“It was lack of shooting. If it was a thing where we were wiped of the field in the first half, I certainly would be looking at your argument and saying you are possibly right in that.
“It is a hard one to have managed, but at the same time, our thought process was to try to keep the momentum going. We had already qualified which can take a little bit of an edge off things. I think the first half against Dublin was actually quite good.
“But then again, you have to go through these. That’s what experience is all about, going to Croke Park on Dublin’s home patch isn’t easy, especially when it’s 80,000 people and a hill of blue.
“That’s something that every team will have to get over this year, but if it happened this year we would certainly be looking at all angles. We have a lot of work to do to get there."