Pragmatism over principle wouldn’t be the worst summation of Galway under Kevin Walsh these last couple of seasons and yesterday encapsulated it.
As much as a first championship win over Kerry and a first at all in Croke Park since 2001 should be cause for celebration, the context of the Super 8 means any champagne must remain on ice.
Kildare must be swatted away next.
“I talk about end-of-year accounts all the time, so we will put that in that pot. At this stage we have to move on to Tuesday night. It’s Newbridge or nowhere next Sunday so that’s a huge, huge task for us.
“We saw what they were like down there today. They have a new-found confidence and they are a quality team, so anything in the Super 8s are a quality team. That’s our next focus. We will put that in the bag for the end of year accounts.”
Ending an eight-game run without a senior triumph over Kerry was something to hang a hat on, even if Walsh was soon moving on from its significance.
“I didn’t know the exact number, but I did know that it was a huge time involved. We want to fill the memory we left behind back In 2000. That’s there. But it can’t be about any revenge, it has to be about this team going forward, what they’re learning and what we can bring them to. And do the best we can do about developing the panel, and that’s huge for us in particular to have a panel developed up.
“Paul (Conroy), unfortunately had a serious injury and Peter (Cooke) came in there and there was a seamless enough transition, and that’s important for us as well up against a very good side, Kerry. It’s about getting the panel as good as we can get.”
In the Walsh ledger, this win can be filed alongside the Connacht quarter-final victory over Mayo as darn ugly. Not that Walsh cares but he was keen to stress the chances Galway created. “I watched a fair bit of the first game (Monaghan v Kildare). I’m not so sure what the score ended up. We hit 1-13. I think it was something like 11 wides.
“If you’re making that many chances, it’s not the worst in the world.
But then again you’re playing what comes against you, and likewise for the opposition. Look it, it’s gone… games are going tactical, you have to understand what’s going on as well. It’s not a case of talking about what you think you might see.
“We’ll look at stuff on Tuesday and it’s fact, not hope you look at.
“There’s certain things you might develop every single night, and it’s not a case of going training for the craic and running around the field. I think there’s a lot of work being put in at the minute. You try to develop players, understanding, awareness, and stuff like that, that might help you on a big day. So that’s something you’re going to come up against. Certain oppositions will go at you 100% and open up. The game will open up. But I suppose you have to adapt.”
As for the funereal atmosphere in Croke Park precipitated by the clash with the World Cup final, fans who found the trip too long or the low standard of football played for the most part but particularly in the first half, Walsh shrugged: “Arra, it is what it is. You play those matches in the league and you play them everywhere else, so whatever happens, happens.
“It’s about patience. You can’t just say, ‘I don’t like this, I’m going off the head’, so it is what it is, I suppose. In that period as well, probably a few wides. It does take time to settle down. I think 1-13 was hit there. It isn’t a massive score for Croke Park, but you will have other games where it might be more.”