Robert Finnerty remains eager to impress
By Cian O’Connell
Robert Finnerty’s pedigree and promise is well documented.
A decorated underage career with promising Salthill-Knocknacarra and Galway teams hinted at Finnerty’s considerable class and finishing ability.
Making Senior inter-county Championship appearances in the maroon and white in 2019 was the next stage in Finnerty’s development.
Having contributed 3-36 for a youthful Salthill-Knocknacarra outfit in the Galway SFC, Finnerty continues to emerge as a footballer in the west.
Padraic Joyce’s arrival as Galway manager ensures plenty of interest and attention surrounds Gaelic Football Corribside and Finnerty is hopeful about playing some sort of a role in 2020.
“Yeah, it is exciting,” Finnerty says about Joyce’s appointment. “I haven't made my Allianz League debut yet myself.
“I made my Championship debut before my League debut and hopefully I will be involved this year, we will see. Training is going well, it is early days yet, I'm just trying to balance my college football and inter-county football with exams coming up.”
Significant attention is always being focused on NUIG’s intriguing first round Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup encounter against a star studded UCC on January 12.
“UCC is probably the toughest draw we could have, last year's champions with a lot of the same players, with Sean O'Shea and loads of Kerry and Cork footballers,” Finnerty states.
“They will be a very strong team. We will have to try to hit the ground running. I think we have a better team this year than we had last year, we have a nice group there and we have a good bond. We will be hoping to come out on top.”
With Maurice Sheridan, Don Connellan, and Paddy Moran involved NUIG have emerged as a competitive footballing college following a worrying spell.
“Yeah, we have at least six or seven in on the Galway panel,” Finnerty adds. “We have Mattie Ruane and Eoin O'Donoghue, and a few other lads with Mayo like Tommy Conroy.
“Then you have one or two others playing with their counties so you have inter-county players. There is a good group of lads, we are hoping it all comes together, to have a good run in it.”
The Galway forward acknowledges the influence of the well regarded Sheridan, who also worked alongside his father, Anthony Finnerty, with the Salthill-Knocknacarra seniors.
“Maurice was involved with our Salthill team too, he is great to work with especially for me with frees,” Finnerty admits.
“Maurice has helped me a lot, he has shown me different techniques and is trying to help me all of the time to improve. It is great to learn from him because he played for Salthill and Mayo.
“He is a great person to have there and to learn from.”
A huge playing base has enabled Salthill-Knocknacarra to remain hugely relevant in the juvenile ranks in Galway with Finnerty encouraged about the emergence of some exciting young players.
“Absolutely, the amount of lads coming through on to the senior team that have played for the county minor team or whatever is good,” Finnerty responds.
“We've won two of the last three county minors and we won two before that. We won the Under 20 competition last year and lost the final this year by a point. There is hopefully a great future for Salthill, we should have a great team coming together in the next year or two.”