Conroy won't get sucked into the emotion of Kerry revenge

Paul Conroy has insisted that he will have no problem parking any old All-Ireland emotions when Galway face Kerry again on Sunday.
Conroy won't get sucked into the emotion of Kerry revenge

NO REVENGE: John West Féile 2023 Ambassador Paul Conroy of Galway at Croke Park. Pic: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Paul Conroy has insisted that he will have no problem parking any old All-Ireland emotions when Galway face Kerry again on Sunday.

The Salthill encounter will be a repeat of last July's All-Ireland decider, which Kerry won thanks to a late scoring burst, and if Galway win or draw this one they'll be through to the National League final against Mayo.

Such an outcome would also prevent Kerry from potentially reaching the final themselves and would see the Kingdom relinquish their hold on the title.

A Galway win wouldn't amount to revenge for missing out on the Sam Maguire Cup last year but it would be a highly significant result all the same.

Asked if he will feel heightened emotions on Sunday because of the opposition and Galway's history with Kerry, midfielder Conroy shook his head.

"I don't think so," said Conroy. "I know a lot of the players would say the same thing, and they're right, that if you take your eye off the ball in terms of the performance and the actual game itself, you ultimately won't be doing what you should be doing on the pitch. We'll just focus on the day and try to put in as good a performance as we can and work on the things we learned from last weekend's game against Armagh and things we didn't do that great."

If Galway do beat Kerry and secure that final clash with Mayo, it could be the first of two huge encounters between the western neighbours in the space of weeks.

The sides will definitely meet on April 23 in the Connacht semi-finals if Mayo overcome Roscommon in the quarter-finals.

Despite that possibility of a Championship dress-rehearsal, Conroy remains keen to reach the league final.

"We haven't any Division 1 medals in our dressing-room and we don't have the challenge of being out the week after (in the Championship)," said Conroy of why they're targeting the decider. "We are definitely in a position here where we would like an extra game. It would be great to get a game early in Croke Park if we are good enough."

Veteran Conroy remains central to Galway's re-emergence as a national force and is arguably in the form of his career as he closes in on his 34th birthday in May. He has started all six of Galway's league games so far, scoring in five of them and returning an overall tally of 0-10.

"I was kind of slow enough to get in form, I thought, but the last couple of games I've been happy enough," said Conroy. "I'll just keep putting the hand up and if the boys are happy with me, they'll play me, I'll leave that up to them."

Galway appear as close now to landing Sam as they have at any point in Conroy's career. Had things gone just a little differently in the closing minutes of last year's final, they may have held on for a landmark win.

"I saw it over Christmas," said Conroy of the replay of that four-point defeat which he acknowledged was 'hard to watch'. 

"There were a few moments in the second half where we probably had a few unforced turnovers, I think I had one myself. Obviously you'd like to try to do better if you were in that situation again but it's just about going forward now this year and hopefully not making the same mistakes you would have before. Just park last year, move on and try to do as well as you can this year."

*Paul Conroy was speaking at the launch of the John West Feile 2023 and the announcement that the company has extended its sponsorship until 2025.

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