1. Right attitude is fundamental for Galway to compete
Two weeks ago Galway went down to the county’s biggest defeat - nine points - in a Connacht final since 1951 when Roscommon made them look like a mediocre club side. Galway played without passion, intensity or any real purpose. They lacked leaders on the field in that defeat. Why? Because their mindset and attitude stank out Pearse Stadium. Thirteen days later and they were the polar opposite.
Paul Conroy, Damien Comer, Gareth Bradshaw, Tom Flynn, Gary O’ Donnell and Johnny Heaney who hit 2-2 were immense.
They had not improved hugely as players in 13 days but this time they went out to be dogs of war and vowed to leave everything they had on the field. This current Galway outfit must be totally tuned in from the first whistle or they can take an awful pasting. Facing Kerry on Sunday should ensure that Kevin Walsh has little, if anything, to say in terms of focusing his charges for a colossal challenge.
Unless the minds are right then Kerry will run riot.
2. Donegal and Rory Gallagher in a tough place
Take massively experienced inter-county players such as Neil Gallagher, Paul Durcan, Eamon McGee, Odhrán MacNiallias, Anthony Thomspon, Colm McFadden out of any county senior team and there will be massive gaps to fill. Donegal are not able to fill those jerseys with men of the same quality at the moment, nor will they in the short term. Rebuilding is usually a slow and painful process.
Donegal could not compete with Tyrone in Ulster this year - losing by nine points - and on Saturday they looked totally dependent on Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty.
Defensively they were far too open and lacked the cut in the tackle that Jim McGuinness prided himself on. Men like Neil McGee and Paddy McGrath looked like all those championship games and seasons have caught up with them and Corofin’s Ian Burke, Seán Armstrong and Damien Comer created havoc in the full-forward line, with Burke a revelation on his championship debut. Rory Gallagher has three years left on his term with Donegal but the county’s supporters were furious with the shambolic finish to their championship season with all the subs on after 42 minutes and Murphy and Martin McElhinney then black carded forcing them to play the last 22 minutes with 13 men.
3. Nothing beats being there — usually
Is it fair or reasonable that the two teams in action on Saturday night had to have a delayed throw-in to their game, because there was extra-time at a venue 140 miles away in Limerick? Was it acceptable for the GAA to have a situation where the 12,000 plus Donegal and Galway supporters had to wait an extra quarter hour to facilitate Sky Sports’ TV coverage?
Some prominent GAA figures were well able to come out in the past few weeks to justify the Sky deal as is their prerogative. Will they speak out this week and agree that those dedicated and paying GAA supporters last Saturday night, those who put their bums on seats and feet on terraces at a GAA venue should not be discommoded to facilitate those that pay subscriptions to a foreign TV company?
If Sky wanted to show the extra-time of Cork and Mayo, fair enough - rock on and do so and then cut over to the Galway and Donegal game. However, they should never be entitled to push back the throw-in of another live game that is due to start.
What happened in Sligo on Saturday evening was unacceptable and the CCCC need to modify their starting times of qualifier games.
To prioritise the subscribing TV customer on Sky ahead of the GAA supporters who have paid their monies directly to the GAA, and taken the trouble to travel to attend a championship game is a concerning situation. It is not what the GAA is about. And should never be allowed to happen again.