Saturday 23 September 2017

'Davy effect' not enough as Tribesmen triumph

Croker hosts huge Wexford crowd - but Galway banish 'heartbreak hotel' demons

Sisters Ciara and Aoife White, from Ahascragh, celebrate after the game in Croke Park. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Sisters Ciara and Aoife White, from Ahascragh, celebrate after the game in Croke Park. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Martin Kilgannon from Turloughmore, Galway, with his sons Nathan (6) and Ronan (8). Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ryan Nugent at Croke Park

The last person to leave Wexford was asked to turn off the lights - such was the turnout from the Slaneysiders, some even estimated that 70pc of the 60,032 at Croker were Wexford fans.

Unfortunately, when it came to the scoreboard, the numbers didn't add up the same way, as the Tribesmen, with the bit between their teeth, beat down the dreams of the Yellow Bellies by 0-29 to 1-17.

Inevitably, some suggested that perhaps Davy Fitzgerald should have reverted to watching the game from the stands like he did against Kilkenny.

But even if that was to make a difference, those watching from the stands would have missed out on all that animation on the touchline.

As Wexford looked to be forging their way back into the game in the second half, their manager could be seen going bananas along the line in order to gee-up his charges.

'The Sunday Game' might even find it worthwhile to stick a camera on Fitzgerald for the full 70 minutes next time and let viewers dip in and out.

Even the Galway supporters could feel the Davy effect around Croke Park.

Cathy Glennon (32), from Kilnadeema, Co Galway, certainly noticed.

Wexford fans Jack Dunne and Luke Synnott, from Taghmon
Wexford fans Jack Dunne and Luke Synnott, from Taghmon

"We're delighted to win Leinster, but at the same time we're really waiting on Liam MacCarthy to come home," she said.

"Davy Fitzgerald has a unique ability to not just rile up his team, but also rile up the entire place... it was electric because of Davy."

So while Wexford still envisage a bright future, for Galway it was about banishing demons and the "heartbreak hotel" that has been GAA HQ over the pas t few years.

Aoife White (26), from Ahascragh, said the county is flooded with optimism - but tinged with fear.

"I definitely think we're on the way to the All-Ireland final," Ms White said.

"For us, Croke Park is heartbreak hotel, but this year, the way the Championship has fallen, Kilkenny are not who they were.

"This may be our year, hopefully...fingers crossed."

There was a little celebration in Galway last night, but the Tribesmen and women are now focused on frying bigger fish.   

Irish Independent

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