Micheál Donoghue was careful to steer clear of claiming Galway yesterday answered their Leinster final critics.
Several pundits, from Ger Loughnane to Michael Duignan, were scathing in their analysis of Galway’s second half collapse against Kilkenny, their second in the championship in 10 months.
However, he did claim the Tribesmen pick up “the lion’s share” of criticism from the media.
“Any day you get to a final, a provincial final, there are always people who are going to have comments and analysis of that, but with respect the only people that matter are people that we have respect for — family and friends and stuff.
“When we reviewed the Leinster final, of course we recognised that there was lots of work we had to do.
“The past three weeks we worked really hard and I think they got their just rewards today.
“We haven’t made any big deal out of it — when a team loses there’s always a bit of criticism and Galway seem to get the lion’s share of it from some of you guys. We know when it’s coming. We’ve worked really hard and I’m proud of the lads. We’re looking forward to the All-Ireland semi-final.”
Donoghue dismissed the idea the pressure had been lifted from Galway in light of this win. Much of that burden, he said, was perceived and placed upon them by those not within the camp.
“As I said, a lot of the hype or the necessity to win was generated outside the group. These lads are competing for the last couple of years, it’s not just something happening now. There’s a quality team there and they’re a savage bunch of men, I’m proud to be working with them.”
Donoghue acknowledged the performance of Joe Canning, who set up a goal, scored another and was flawless from eight placed balls, not to mention the points he assisted especially in the second half when Clare were threatening to whittle down Galway’s advantage.
“He’s a huge player for us. We stronger as a group rather than the individual and we asked everybody to work, no matter where that took them, and I think Joe epitomised that in the second half.”
Canning’s goal, Donoghue remarked, was a vital score. “In fairness to Joe, it was a great finish, the angle he took the ball and where he shot from. It was probably hard to conceive of him shooting from there but a player of his calibre is well capable of scoring from there. We probably needed that to create a platform from then on.
“In any game you want your big players on the ball. He’s a huge player for us, as are all the lads who were out there, and near the end he was just sticking to his man. David McInerney finished the game strong and Joe stuck to him.” Donoghue now faces Tipperary, a team he worked with under Eamon O’Shea.
“Tipp are one of the top teams in the country, they had an emphatic win in the Munster final. That’s a challenge but it’s a challenge we’ll look forward to meeting in a few weeks.”
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