Friday 2 December 2016

Kevin Walsh: Tribesmen will learn from loss to 'better team'

Daragh Small

Published 15/06/2015 | 02:30

Damien Comer, Galway, in action against Tom Cunniffe, Mayo
Damien Comer, Galway, in action against Tom Cunniffe, Mayo

Galway manager Kevin Walsh said that his side can take a lot from their performance as they now turn their attentions to the qualifiers.

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His side produced a decent performance but they never recovered from Mayo's blistering start to the second half of yesterday's Connacht semi-final.

"There are some encouraging aspects out of it; the fact that we were chasing the game for most of the game didn't help us and those two or three minutes after half-time was probably the difference in the end," he said.

"I thought the lads really worked hard and there was some great individual performances out there. There was definitely a will to win and that is the most important thing."

Galway only led Mayo once, after Gary Sice's expertly taken goal just before the break.

They really needed to add another score or two but when Cillian O'Connor sent over a free the teams were level and Walsh knew that was a chance missed.

"We needed to test this Division 1 side, we need to put them on the back foot and we probably didn't do that.

"It was a great goal by Gary Sice but Mayo got a point back before half-time to level it.

"We probably needed to take the scoring chances in the first half and have that goal got as well. We didn't really put them on the back foot so it is disappointing.

Disappointing

"Any time we lose is a disappointing day out, particularly when you have worked so hard and the lads really believed they could have won this one."

Galway's inability to deal with the threat of Aidan O'Shea proved costly as O'Connor was presented with easy frees time and again, and the Ballintubber man punished them.

Walsh was unhappy with the frees but he had no qualms about the outcome.

"There was a lot of frees given inside our scoring zone. The balance is to find how hard you can tackle, when you can tackle and we will reassess on video what it was like," said the double All-Ireland winner.

"From game to game some people see it differently. But I have no issues with the loss, we were beaten by the better team on the day and we will learn from it."

The key thing now for Walsh in his first season in charge is to get Galway to regroup for the qualifiers and push on from there.

"At the end of the day it is about results and winning but you have to come from somewhere and the process has to take you towards winning," he said.

"You can't expect to just come out here and walk out and take on and beat a team like Mayo every day.

"Of course it is all about winning at the end of the day but we will look back on this and we will assess where we can improve on it. I think we have improved quite a bit during the year and our intention is to keep that process going to get to the top level.

Mayo joint manager Pat Holmes believes his side have a lot of room for improvement as they bid to win five Connacht titles in a row for the first time.

"It was all about getting the win," said Holmes. "We didn't play particularly well in a lot of aspects of the game but in fairness to the lads, they all kept plugging away and kept working hard and we got the result in the end.

"That's always a concern particularly when a team is playing their third Championship game and we're playing our first Championship game.

"But this group of players are around as long time and are very experienced. They know how to prepare for big games and they did that today very well."

Crucial

The first few minutes of the second half proved crucial as Finian Hanley's own goal, two points from O'Connor and another from O'Shea saw the champions lead by six points after just four second-half minutes.

"Every time you get scores on the board, they're key moments in the game. We had a few key moments in the first few minutes of the second half," said Holmes.

This was Mayo's first competitive outing in ten weeks and Holmes feels they have work to do before the Connacht final.

"We made a lot of mistakes in the first half. We were probably lucky to go in level at half-time," he conceded.

"We conceded a couple of chances to Galway which they didn't take so that's something we have to work on over the next five weeks."

Holmes, who is waiting to establish the extent of injuries picked up by Andy Moran (knee) and his replacement Alan Dillon (hamstring) felt that Aidan O'Shea made a big impact.

"He did very, very well. But I thought all over the pitch we played nice football at times but we had a lot of the other stuff as well so we'll have to work on the downside and hopefully not make as many errors in five weeks' time," he said.

"There were a lot of fouls and I don't know why that was. Was it because the referee was implementing the rules very tightly or was it because there were actually fouls?

"But there were a lot of fouls and most of our scores in the first half came from frees."

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