Johnny Coen: Galway bonded on Super 11s trip

Galway’s hurlers will head to Boston next month in a much happier place than for their previous trip there. That Super 11s break came shortly after Anthony Cunningham had stepped down in the wake of a player revolt.

Despite the circumstances, Johnny Coen remembers the experience being a great bonding exercise for the team.

“When we went over we came back stronger for sure. You come together as a team, we are together four times a week but this is a different setting.”

Coen doesn’t feel any sort of vindication now that Galway have won an All-Ireland without Cunningham but when they took the decision it was different.

“At the time, we felt it was (vindicated). That was it, to be honest with you. It’s not as if we were looking back saying it was a fantastic decision or anything like that, it was something nobody wanted to go through.

“I would have worked with Anthony since U21 and he brought us to the All-Ireland and we won it in 2011 against Dublin. He’s given a lot to Galway hurling, he was a fantastic player as well so I’d hope there’s no hard feelings.

“It brought us together as a group, it was one-in all-in and we rallied together obviously but nobody really wanted to go through it like. But the team felt it was the right thing to do.”

The 26-year-old is still on cloud nine after last month’s win over Waterford, but new-found fame is something he has had to get used to.

“In Loughrea, more people waving at you and shaking your hand, that sort of stuff. You’ve gone from an average enough fella around the town to all of a sudden young lads are looking up to you, mad for signing hurls and jerseys, and the more goodwill we can show for their support throughout the year the better.

“These are the perks, and it’s good to have after all the hard training during the year. No harm for a bit of downtime either.”

Coen accepts 2018 will be a wide-open season and Galway will have to get down to work quickly with the earlier league and championship starts. “With the changes, we’ve four games now, two in Galway, which we haven’t had in a long time, two at home. The early start too.

“I know Micheál (Donoghue) and the lads will be putting pen to paper and putting their own plan together for the year. Everything has to change.”


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