Thursday 21 September 2017

Mulholland admits odds against Galway

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The odds on Galway's 2012 All-Ireland football title prospects didn't budge an inch overnight in the city, remaining steadfast with Mulholland bookmakers at 33/1.

Should it be taken as a sign that one of the firm's directors doesn't believe he can advance those prospects in any significant way next year?

As an oddsmaker, Alan Mulholland believes 33/1 is the correct price for Galway 2012. As the new Galway football manager, officially appointed on Monday night, he doesn't think there is any reason to price those odds downwards on the back of his appointment.

"My brother runs the company with me and he suggested to me yesterday that we should actually push them out to 40/1," he laughed.

At 33/1, the third most successful football county, in terms of All-Ireland senior titles, are no longer perceived as the potential threat they have always traditionally been considered.

"It's a reflection of where Galway football probably is," accepted Mulholland, who has been appointed for three years with a review after two. By the way he is talking, he'll need every one of those years.

"I think the Galway footballers need space and they need the people of Galway to be patient," said the All-Ireland-winning minor and U-21 manager. "Honestly, I think we have to remove any thoughts of silverware next year. Maybe that's not what people want to hear but it's what the players need.

"My aim is to build a solid foundation, manage the transition because that is what is happening in Galway football."

Mulholland believes his appointment is an indication itself of the direction Galway are heading in.

"Galway have appointed an underage coach and that says something about the direction it's felt we should be travelling in. We have to blood more players but, having said that, I'm not going to discard anyone that is already there."

That will leave Padraic Joyce with the choice of continuing on as an inter-county player for a 15th season in his own hands. Joyce has deferred a decision on his future until the new year.

adamant

Mulholland accepts results have not been good for Galway over the last few seasons but is adamant that Galway have worked just as hard as any other county to fix that.

"I was U-21 manager for the last two seasons and I've had visibility into what Joe Kernan and Tomas O Flatharta were doing. They ran very professional set ups.

"Dublin win an All-Ireland title and everyone talks about how hard they are working but I think most inter-county teams are working that hard now."

Mulholland is also confident that the 2007 minor team that he managed to All-Ireland success can yield more in the next three years for the Galway seniors than it has done over the last three.

"There's a perception there that the players on that minor team haven't followed on but, again, time and patience are required," he said. "In other counties there are players who don't make it until their mid 20s -- Kerry and Cork for example.

"I won an All-Ireland minor title as a player in 1986 but the county didn't win an All-Ireland title for 12 years after that. Kevin Walsh and Tomas Mannion, who were on that team, were at their best in their late 20s, early 30s. Sometimes the expectation is too much too soon. There are a lot of developmental factors to consider."

Mulholland will have his U-21 selectors Donal O Flatharta and Alan Flynn on board for the next three years but has no plans to introduce anyone else to his back-room team.

As for indicators as to the mood and rate of progress Galway could make under Mulholland, the odds he offers in his day job may be the most transparent source.

At a time when some inter-county managers are reported to be making hay on expenses, Mulholland is in the unique position of potentially paying for any success he enjoys in the future.

Irish Independent

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