Gary Sice: Galway attack will do awful damage if they click

Former Galway attacker Gary Sice has described their current forward unit as “frightening” and claimed they have the potential to do “awful damage” if they click.

The Tribesmen have emerged as football’s breakthrough team so far this season with four National League wins propelling them to the head of Division 1 straight after promotion.

They can virtually secure a first final place since 2006 if they beat Monaghan in Salthill on Sunday.

They appear a genuine threat to the big four of Dublin, Kerry, Mayo and Tyrone with consistent progression in recent seasons under Kevin Walsh.

The really exciting part is that Galway, traditionally regarded as football’s stylists, have put together one of the most impressive forward groups in the game.

Captain Damien Comer, a “wrecking ball” according to Sice, is in the form of his career alongside Eamonn Brannigan, who hit 1-3 in the win over Kerry, the in-form Barry McHugh and the mercurial Shane Walsh.

“It’s early days but I think the forwards have the potential to do awful damage,” said Sice who played in Galway’s attack for 10 years. “I think if they all clicked on the one day, it would be frightening.

“That would be fantastic to see and it would be exciting for Galway supporters, myself included, over the next couple of months to see them evolving and getting onto the harder ground and letting loose on teams.

“It will be interesting to see how that develops but I am excited about them.”

Sice reckons that Walsh’s continued growth as a Galway attacker has mirrored the rise of the group generally.

“He’s the same as the team, developing all the time,” continued Sice, currently preparing for the AIB All-Ireland club final with Corofin.

“He’s frightening, he’s absolutely frightening when he gets everything together. I think, again like the forwards overall, if the day comes when he clicks for 70 minutes he’s going to destroy someone.

“At the moment he’s doing it in 10-, 15-minute bursts. But he’s a big part of the team, he’s fitting in nicely into the setup and when the ground is hard and the weather is better I’m really looking forward to seeing him in action.

“He’s 24 now, improving all the time. You can’t just expect him to drop into inter-county football, to come with the tag he’s come with, and expect him to just explode.

“It’s exciting for every Galway supporter to watch him, every time he gets the ball, and that’s all we’re looking for in Galway — a bit of excitement, for something different.”

The big issue with Galway in recent seasons has been their lack of consistency.

They have beaten Mayo in consecutive Connacht championship campaigns yet followed up on both occasions with poor displays against Roscommon and were dumped out of the 2016 Championship by Tipperary. Against Kerry in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-finals, they were comfortably dismissed.

Danny Cummins, another of those Galway forwards, suggested ahead of this year’s return to Division 1 that they sometimes lacked the ‘cutes’ of the top counties who engage in ‘dark arts’ during games.

“I don’t know if it’s dark arts, its just a little bit of experience I think,” said Sice, who last played for Galway in last year’s Connacht final defeat to Roscommon.

“They’ve gone shoulder to shoulder with some of the bigger teams now and they are matching up in every way.

“So I don’t know about the dark arts but they must have done something because they are matching up to Kerry, to Tyrone, to all of these guys.

“I think we’ve had a situation over a period of time where they’ve had to go and experience these things, to learn. You can’t just go in and pick these things up, that’s not how it works in any sport anywhere.”

Comer’s all-action style in attack, and ability to pick off crucial scores, sums up Galway’s ability to mix silk with steel.

“He’s just a wrecking ball, isn’t he?” said Sice of the Annaghdown man.

“A fantastic footballer. He’s going to have a good summer hopefully and it will be important for Galway that he does.”

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