Micheál Donoghue has another year to run on his management deal with Galway but after this who can say what the future holds.
The 2017 All-Ireland winning manager won’t be shoved out after all he’s won — two Leinster titles and a National League too — but whether he has the heart to go again for a fifth season is another matter.
He gave no inclination either way about his 2020 plans immediately after Saturday’s game and instead praised a group of players who have felt the sharp end of the new Championship structure this summer.
“That’s sport,” shrugged Donoghue after being nudged into fourth position on scoring difference.
In 26 league and Championship games since winning the All-Ireland in 2017, Galway have won 16, losing six and drawing four more.
They still started this summer as favourites with one bookmaker to win the All-Ireland but laboured past Carlow and then drew with Wexford.
They hoped the thrilling and historic win over Kilkenny at Nowlan Park would ignite their summer but Dublin had other ideas.
Asked if hey felt hard done by this season with injuries to key players like Joe Canning, and results like the Wexford/Kilkenny outcome conspiring against them, Donoghue shook his head.
“We knew the permutations coming into it,” he said. “Obviously we’re devastated with the outcome, the fact that we lost and that the other game was a draw but that was outside our control. As I said, I’m just immensely proud of the lads, they worked hard and kept at it. It’s a tough one to take but that’s what we have to do.”
Donoghue said he anticipated an epic battle approaching the game with plenty of history between these groups of Galway and Dublin players who have come to blows in the past.
“We knew coming up that it was going to be a really tough battle,” he said.
Donoghue agreed that it wasn’t that sort of game where one team could pull away and assert their authority. No, it wasn’t but I still thought we responded every time they threw something at us,” he said. “But ultimately when they got those goals in the second-half, that was it.”
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