Jackie Tyrrell faces a major fitness battle to be available for Sunday week’s All-Ireland SHC final although Brian Cody has allayed fears about Eoin Larkin’s thumb injury.
As reported in the Irish Examiner on Monday, 31-year-old Larkin picked up the problem in a training game in Fota Island on Saturday but isn’t a concern ahead of facing Galway.
“We have no concerns about Eoin’s participation,” said Cody at last night’s press evening in Langton’s Hotel. “Eoin, barring something else happens, will be available for selection. There’s no doubt about that.”
However, Tyrrell was on crutches at the training camp and has not yet returned to training as he recovers from a stress fracture of his ankle. “Jackie, as we know, has a stress fracture and he missed out on the semi-final the last day and he has been in a boot for a few weeks.
“He’s out of it now and it depends on how he recovers from that and we’re not ruling him in or ruling him out at the moment.
“He’s just working his way back now and we’re hoping he can get back running and can get back doing everything he needs to do quickly, but that remains to be seen. But right now it’s just that we don’t know.
Richie Hogan (back) and Ger Aylward (arm) are also set to be available. “Richie obviously recovered well from the back injury, recovered amazingly well because it was serious for the semi-final and again he’s just taking it easy at the moment obviously. Again, it’s a question of wait and see but we’ll be hopeful that Richie will be fine too.
“Ger is fine as well. Ger has just got a slight knock, it’s nothing, a bit of bruising. It’s par for the course type of stuff.”
Richie Power, unavailable all year, could come into contention. “He’s training, and he’s worked very, very hard all year, he hasn’t got any game time at all this year because he couldn’t, he just wasn’t ready for it. His ability to partake in training has picked up since the semi-final. He’s had a tough year, no doubt about that, could have come into the reckoning? He could, he could, yeah.”
Meanwhile Galway hero Noel Lane believes the county’s lack of All-Ireland success hasn’t been helped by a high turnover of managers.
Lane was part of the last side to bring All-Ireland title success to Galway back in 1988.
Looking back across the near 30-year losing streak, Lane feels the turnover in managers is one thing that hasn’t helped. “Galway administration don’t do patience,” he said. “There was a lot of turnover of managers and I feel myself in hindsight, and at the time, that it wasn’t the right thing to do but that was the way it was.
“There were managers before me that got the two years and if you didn’t deliver an All-Ireland you were out. You didn’t get the time to build and to grow a team. You have to get experience as well in that role as manager.”
Current manager Anthony Cunningham came close to being dislodged this time last year after two disappointing seasons since the 2012 All-Ireland finals appearances.
“Well, a lot of people tried to get rid of him last year,” said Lane. “The vote was split and it was the chairman’s vote that swung it in his favour. It was three against three. There was a lot of mood for change.
“Again, in my opinion, that wasn’t the right thing but that’s Galway and the story up to now has proven that it was the right decision to keep him, although there was some people the last day, at the end of the game had we been beaten, that might have been going down to the side line to Anthony.”
” Lane believes the fact that Galway are heading into an All-Ireland final with a manager who has actually experienced the occasion before is hugely significant.
“None of the Galway managers before him had been in a second one so that should be very significant and should be a big help to Anthony,” said Lane. “There is huge positivity in Galway at the minute. They see they have made huge strides at management level, they see the players are delivering in a consistent way, albeit we are still only in a final and have nothing won.
“But the last day against Kilkenny, what really impressed me was our minors winning against Kilkenny. Kilkenny were the better team in the drawn match and should have won it, they were the better team in extra-time, but Galway showed massive passion, spirit, guile and perseverance to hang on.”
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