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Galway footballer Shane Walsh pictured at the launch of the 2019 Allianz Football League.
Galway footballer Shane Walsh pictured at the launch of the 2019 Allianz Football League.

Walsh hopes Galway can become more clincial

By John Harrington

Shane Walsh is in no doubt that 2018 was a progressive year for the Galway senior footballers, but he knows too that they still have a way to travel if they want to become the best team in the country.

That much was obvious after their All-Ireland SFC semi-final defeat to all-conquering Dublin.

Galway played well for portions of that match and had Dublin rattled early on, but, ultimately, they were undone in the end by Dublin’s greater ruthlessness.

If the Tribesmen are to bridge the gap between themselves and the four-in-a-row All-Ireland champions in 2019, Walsh believes they’ll have to develop the same cold, clinical edge that has become Dublin’s hallmark.

“The big thing from last year’s semi-final was being clinical in front of goal,” said Walsh today at the launch of the 2019 Allianz Football League.

“Dublin, I think only had about ten chances in the first half, they got 1-7 or 1-8 or something like that. How many chances did we have?

“We maybe took one in three or one in four of a scoring ratio which, at the end of the day, when you’re playing the All-Ireland champions, who are the team to beat the last couple of years, that’s not going to be good enough

“That’s a big thing for us to learn from. The experience from it alone will bring us on a bit more. We often find on the big days, you do things you never did before that you shouldn’t be doing.

“Looking back over that and looking back over the year gone by, there’s lots to bring forward to this year. I think that’s maybe one area when we get to the crucial stages of games to kill teams off is probably the big one.”

New Down manager Paddy Tally.
New Down manager Paddy Tally.

Galway might need to develop a more clinical attacking edge, but at least they’re building on the solid foundations of a durable defence.

Much of the credit for their miserly defending last year was given to coach Paddy Tally who joined Kevin Walsh’s backroom team for the 2018 season.

He has since moved to pastures new after being appointed Down’s new manager. Walsh admits he’ll be a big loss, but is confident the lessons all the Galway players learned from him will continue to be put to good use in his absence.

“Paddy was huge,” said Walsh. “He was a great influence in the dressing room and a great personality as well. I probably was close enough to Paddy in many regards.

“After training, we always chatted and that, passing on knowledge. It’s great to get a different insight, he brought that northern edge as well to it that’s renowned with them. It was great to have him there.

“He gave us something to hold onto and build on in the next couple of years as well. Just because Paddy’s gone doesn’t mean that we stop doing the good work we were doing with Kevin and the lads.”