Having been ferocious in his criticism of Galway in the build-up to the All-Ireland quarter-final meeting with his native Clare, Ger Loughnane paid generous tribute to Galway’s performance in the six-point win.
“Galway were a physically stronger team. The great thing about Galway today, their defence and their workrate,” said Loughnane on RTE’s coverage of the game.
“They worked so hard, something you have to do in the modern game. And something they haven’t always done..
“It was much better than I’ve seen for a long time .Mainly because of the defence.
“There were an awful lot of positives for Galway. Joe Canning’s workrate was outstanding today.”
“As long as it isn’t a one-off display, they might have turned a corner today.”
Loughnane, who has managed both counties, acknowledged Clare’s determination in defeat, but felt the defeat raises question marks about where the current setup is going.
“In fairness, they didn’t throw themselves down. They didn’t surrender.”
“It now raises real questions about Clare, maybe about the quality of the team and where the team is going.
“The future is not as bright as people would have thought a few years ago.”
Loughnane called Galway “gutless” following the Leinster final defeat by Kilkenny, but Galway manager Micheál Donoghue wouldn’t be drawn into a war of words.
“It’s not about that. We can’t control that. When we get defeats, we’re our worse critics ourselves.
“We’re continuing to try to set high standards and we’re just trying to get a Galway team that’s competitive. I’m proud of them today.”