RAY SILKE: Time for Kernan to walk the plank?

SITTING cold and numb, physically and emotionally, in the stand at Pearse Stadium last Saturday after yet another one point defeat to supposedly inferior opposition, it did not take long for my mobile to start bleeping.

No surprise there.

One of the messages did rattle me and affirmed the view of many Galway fans at the moment… and the fact that this text was from a died-in-the-wool Galway football and hurling man who was in Markievicz Park last weekend to see the footballers and in Croke Park on Sunday for the hurlers only gave the view more gravitas.

“Thank God, we’re out.”

The reality is that this Galway team and management set-up has lost the support of their fans. They don’t trust them anymore.

Only 2,330 bothered to pay on Saturday and at least 500 of those were Wexford supporters. The fact that you could hear “Wexford, Wexford” chants in the stand after Ciarán Lyng expertly converted their penalty tells it as it is.

The Joe Kernan experience has not gone well for Galway. It is just not working.

The team struggled to beat New York, drew with Sligo and were deservedly beaten in the replay and now comes another morale sapping defeat to Wexford.

In a result’s driven business, everyone has an opinion on what should happen.

And I have no doubt that if there was a poll taken from the Galway supporters exiting the ground on Saturday, then Joe Kernan’s tenure as Galway manager would be over.

Only Brian Cowen’s popularity has sunk faster in the past few months Why? What has turned the people against Big Joe, the Messiah as he was seen by many in the county and county board last October?

The Galway team seems to have gone backwards rather than progressed. There has been nothing to indicate over the past four games that any progress has been made over the past nine months.

The style of play is not attractive with defensive wing-forwards like Gary Sice, short-passing, inability to win breaks, and the players unsure about their roles.

The fact that Pádraig Joyce at 33 years of age has had to be their leader and main scoring threat (he shot 0-6 Saturday) for their four championship games does not augur well for the next few seasons.

What will be like when he retires? Michael Meehan’s untimely injury run did deprive Kernan of a key scorer, but Galway’s inability to deal with his loss was not inspiring.

Thirdly, no new players except Owen Concannon from St James has been discovered and blooded during the championship.

All the other starting players had been involved with Liam Sammon and there is disappointment that new talent has not been found.

FINALLY and this is one of the biggest criticisms being made about the current regime; the team does not look fit. There is no pace in their game.

They were caught by Sligo in the replay with three late points and on Saturday too it was Wexford who had the legs, desire and will to grab the game when it was there to be won.

Whether Kernan decides to go or not is not yet clear, and after the game he pointed out that he and the board officials would sit down in the coming weeks and look at Galway’s medium to long-term options.

If it is not to be, then they will shake hands and move on. In his words and assessment it has been a very disappointing end to the year.

Whether that means he will go or not, will be between him and the county chairman and the man who appointed him, John Joe Holleran.

Nothing is clear at this stage, except that things have not worked well in 2010 and the mood is dark.

Even if he does go and I think he should, it will not solve the strategic problems for Galway football.

Changing a manager is easy and as we all know Band Aids are simple to get, however finding what is causing the bleed is the hard part.


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