Damien Comer unfazed by black card fears

A physical presence in Galway’s recent revival, Damien Comer may be walking a thin line on Sunday as a third black card this season would rule him out of a potential All-Ireland SFC semi-final.

However, the Annaghdown man adopts the same no-nonsense approach to that possibility as he applies to his football ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final showdown with Tipperary.

The 22-year-old is one black card away from a one-game suspension having been shown black cards during a league draw with Meath and towards the end of the recent Connacht final win over Roscommon. While the black card continues to be a cause célèbre for football, Comer insists the risk of suspension will not weigh heavily on his mind on Sunday.

“Not really. You go out there and you give it your all on the day. Whatever happens, happens, but obviously you don’t intentionally go out to get cards,” said the Galway forward, who offered a refreshing take on things when speaking at a media event to confirm EirGrid as the GAA’s first official timing sponsor.

“Sometimes, you do get harshly treated, but in general I feel you get what you deserve and, in previous games, I couldn’t have any complaints,” he said. “If I feel I’ve been fouled, I’ve been fouled and, like, you accept that. The backs know too.

“You might get a soft free here and there and you mightn’t get a free which you would deserve. It balances itself out.” Just seven years of age when Galway last claimed the All-Ireland SFC title in 2001, Comer hopes to end another drought for the county this Sunday as that win 15 years ago also marked their last senior victory at Croke Park.

Having been marked out as under-achievers in recent seasons, Galway’s recent Connacht title success — which followed a surprise semi-final win over Mayo — has led to them being transformed into upcoming prospects again. The bookies have them as 4/11 favourites to beat first-time quarter-finalists Tipp after they secured their first Connacht title since 2008 with their win over Roscommon.

“We haven’t won here in 15 years,” said Comer. “We’ve broken records already this year, so, that’s one we’ll hope to break again on Sunday, but we’re a young team. We’re building. We’re not the finished article, yet. We’ve got a lot to work on, a lot to improve on, but definitely we’d be hoping to overcome that on Sunday.

“We have a lot of things we need to work on. We’ve seen Tipp in action; it’s going to be a close one, no matter what the bookies say.” Manager Kevin Walsh said 52 players turned down the chance to turn out for Galway during his time in charge, but Comer said: “I don’t know why they turned it down. As you’re growing up, every young lad’s dream is to play with your county team.

“I think that fact that we have progressed and done so well this year, it’s going to generate the hunger that Galway football needs, it is the boost that it needs.” Friendly with his former NUIG team-mate Robbie Kiely, Comer is also familiar with Tipp’s Michael Quinlivan from playing in the US and Ciarán McDonald from Irish International Rules trials and he expects a tight game.

“They’re a good side... they’ve done a lot of things that people haven’t expected of them this year,” said Comer. “They’ve taken out a Division 1 side, no more than ourselves. It’s going to be a tight game. They’ve got some classy forwards, some classy players all over.”


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