Tuam Stars and Galway Footballer Gary O’Donnell was present at today’s AIB launch of the 2019 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Gary also took the time to answer a few questions about Galway’s Chances this year…
Q: You’re already up and running in the championship. Beating London was the start you wanted, if not the performance?
A: Going over to London, everyone knows they’ve been building over the last few summers and we knew going over it was going to be a big challenge for us. We probably didn’t perform as well as we wanted on the day.
But credit to London, they played well, created a lot of chances and stayed in the game as long as they could and there’s plenty for us to work on ahead of the Sligo game.
Q: Was that the game you wanted actually, to blow off the cobwebs and get rid of any complacency?
A: The nature of the Championship in May is like that so it’s probably no harm for some of us, especially when we have so many new faces, to have a small bit of a reality check. But at the same
We were happy enough with our league campaign considering we didn’t finish it the way we wanted to. At the same
Q: You’ve had a few good summers and got Galway back in contention. What’s been the most encouraging aspect?
A: The big positive is where we came from.
We weren’t competing in Connacht but then won a couple in the last three years and were in another final too. We reached an All-Ireland semi-final and a national league final so that’s big targets met there. But at the same
Q: What exactly do you feel is still in the tank?
A: We could get our scoring a bit higher. We’ve worked a lot on our defence which has been evident in recent years when we were difficult to beat. That’s
Q: Is the criticism of Galway as overly defensive a bit unfair?
A: I think it is.
There’s a lot of teams that came before us that played a certain style of football and there wasn’t as much criticism. I remember years back we were playing a brilliant style of football but getting pasted by a couple of teams and getting the exact same criticism so sometimes you just can’t win. In all sports and in all teams, it’s all about winning so you learn to take that on the chin and do whatever it takes to get over the line.
Q: Galway certainly appear to have the players and talent to become more dangerous in attack. Is the balance coming?
A: The proof will come this summer. We’re hoping to make the latter stages of the championship and hopefully, up against the big teams and even along the way, we’ll see how we measure up.
We really won’t know until then but we’re doing a lot of work in training. A lot of time and preparation has gone into it and you don’t really know until you get into the thick of the championship.
Q: You reached an All-Ireland semi-final last year v Dublin? What
A: I recall getting a goal early on and going a couple of points up and then immediately after we intercepted a kick-out one-on-one, missed it and then missed a penalty. The first half was there for us. We went in two points down after all that and were very disappointed at that stage.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was the same. We were well in the game but just didn’t capitalise on it. I don’t think we scored for 17 or 20 minutes and you’re not going to win games at that level, especially against Dublin, like that. So we know exactly what went wrong and know what we have to work on it.
Q: Sligo up next. They mightn’t have had a great league but their scoring was decent and they can always lift it for
A: Absolutely. We’re well used to Sligo. Kevin was
there for a couple of years and they put one over on us before when he was in
charge of them. They’re very stiff opposition up in Markievicz. Anytime you
play them up there it’s never easy. We saw the results over last weekend – a
lot of underdogs came out on top. So we’re forewarned. It was the same against
I know it’s a cliché at times but you’re going over there to do a job and you can never prepare yourself enough for the team who is up for you, especially at this time of the year. We need to be really, really prepared for this.
Markievicz is a really compact ground and a difficult place to play, especially if there’s a big crowd at it. We actually haven’t played up there much in the last few years. Regardless of where you play though you have to just adapt to the conditions.