Micheál Donoghue said criticism of Galway as chokers was well and truly answered by today’s All-Ireland final victory, writes John Fogarty
Bridging the 29-year gap to the county’s last success, Donoghue exclaimed his team’s performance and character. “Preparation from the semi-final to today couldn’t have gone any better for us. I said it the last number of weeks to the lads, their experience was shining through. And I said it for the last couple of months, I am in a privileged position here today, being the manager. It would be very remiss of me not to mention all the previous managers that have gone before me, that have helped nurture and develop these players
“And it is similar for the players, who have represented Galway since 1988 and particularly in the last few years, some great players have gone through. It has been a huge collective effort, but the squad that we have presently, we have been saying it for the last couple of months, since the Wexford game, these boys have taken huge ownership, and I think any management team that is in situ is trying to develop a team and a squad that take ownership and they have done it for the last couple of months.
“They have been questioned and doubted so many times, even in the build-up to the game, there were still references that they were chokers. Nobody came out and said, ‘These boys showed huge resilience’ and today, we knew coming up that we were in with a serious chance. We had a few setbacks in the first-half but the character and unity and everything that is built in this squad was shown in abundance today.”
On an exceptional day of shooting for Galway, Donoghue knew striking from distance would be important against Waterford. “Throughout the whole year, we have encountered different systems and different sweepers and the lads always had the capability of shooting from outside. And even today, it was about ensuring that we had the right lads out the field that were very capable of taking scores. Thankfully, that paid off.
“But I think we got a great start and once the confidence starts growing, and the belief gets bigger and bigger in the players, they are not afraid to shoot. But to shoot, you have to capable and we certainly have those players.”
On Johnny Glynn’s return to the first team, Donoghue said: “Yeah, it was a big call on our behalf starting Jonathan. He had gone really well the last couple of weeks in training and when the team was announced on Friday night, just to illustrate the character, the unity and spirit that is in this squad, Niall Burke went over to him and wished him well and empty the tank and then he would come and do the job. And that’s fair testament to the man and he stuck to his word, he came on and made a massive impact.”