O'Neill influence in Galway starting to pay dividends

The Tribesmen have been boosted with no new injury concerns ahead of the repeat of the National Football League Division 2 final, as they look for their first provincial crown since 2018 on Sunday week.
O'Neill influence in Galway starting to pay dividends

Cian O'Neill. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cian O’Neill has had a huge influence on the Galway footballers already but the best could be yet to come as they prepare for a Connacht final against Roscommon.

The Tribesmen have been boosted with no new injury concerns ahead of the repeat of the National Football League Division 2 final, as they look for their first provincial crown since 2018 on Sunday week.

Galway manager Pádraic Joyce added O’Neill to his backroom team ahead of the 2022 campaign and he has already helped mastermind an FBD League success, promotion to Division 1 in the league and a brilliant win over Mayo in Castlebar.

And selector John Concannon knows it was crucial to get someone of the calibre of the former Cork coach involved.

“The few nights away and team building exercises and different things that we couldn’t do during Covid, it helped us get to know the lads more and the lads got to know us. Especially with Cian on board, getting to know him,” said Concannon.

“First of all, it’s great having a new voice. Cian has 13 or 14 years’ experience in inter-county football and hurling. He is a phenomenal coach, he is a brilliant communicator, very good at video analysis. He is a great man, a great motivator, his coaching is second to none so we are delighted with him.

“Himself and John Divilly have been the two main coaches on the field. They work brilliantly together. It’s working well so far. But football is very fickle, if we lose in two weeks’ time I’m sure there will be complaints about him as well but so far so good.” James McLaughlin and Sean Mulkerrin remain the only long-term absentees while goalkeeper Conor Flaherty has been out since the league final and Dylan Canney has a short-term complaint.

But their main leaders all remain fit as Galway look for their first Connacht final victory at the Pearse Stadium since way back in 2005.

“They are playing well, the biggest thing is they are training very hard and they are injury-free,” said Concannon.

“It’s Damien Comer’s first year in I don’t know how many years that he has got a consistent run. Shane Walsh is the same way, Shane was injured eight or ten weeks ago but in the last four to six weeks, consistent training.

“Same with Sean Kelly and Paul Conroy like, since that horrific injury he had (against Kerry) he has just been phenomenal and he is playing the football of his life. So just long may it continue.”

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