Sunday 23 October 2016

Donoghue pays little attention to Tribe's great expectations

Michael Verney

Published 02/06/2016 | 02:30

Galway hurling manager Micheál Donoghue. Photo: Sportsfile
Galway hurling manager Micheál Donoghue. Photo: Sportsfile

The huge weight of expectation is on his shoulders to be the man to bring Liam MacCarthy back across the Shannon for the first time in 28 years but you'd hardly know it.

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Micheál Donoghue gently brushes away the anticipation out west but, without stating it, it's obvious what his goal is for 2016. Galway's stop-start league campaign ended in relegation but the Clarinbridge native is not one to dwell on the past.

Stressing their need to get things right for the championship nearly a dozen times in seven minutes makes his intentions crystal clear. As the man chosen to steer their latest charge after player power removed Anthony Cunningham, who twice brought the Tribesmen to All-Ireland finals in four years, he should be feeling the pressure, but he isn't.

"Ah, I don't pay much heed to it. In fairness, since we last won the All-Ireland I think there's huge expectations on Galway to be successful and there's a lot of media generated to coincide with that but it is what it is," he says.

"We'll well acknowledge we have a team capable of being successful and it's our job now to try and bring them to give a more consistent performance. That's what you're striving to do. Ideally, you didn't want to be relegated but, as we said to the boys, it wasn't going to define our year."


Last year's captain David Collins recently said nothing other than the All-Ireland would suffice for Galway but Donoghue admits they've been "chasing the pack" so far this year. His late appointment, just three days before Christmas, left an uphill battle but he's delighted with their effort and for all involved, every day is a school day.

"It's been a good five months," he says. "I think we're kind of chasing the pack in terms of when we were appointed but even for the duration of the league the lads' application and attitude has been brilliant. Some guys you'd have perceptions of how this was done or that was done.

"No matter when someone new comes in you're always going to try and put your own stamp on it so obviously that's going to incorporate change. Every year is different and I think the boys are well focused on the job at hand and fully focused on June 5."

Sunday's Leinster quarter-final against high-flying Westmeath will be their first competitive outing in nine weeks but the 2011 All-Ireland club-winning manager believes they're making all the right noises in training.

"We're only a few months into it, the lads are still getting to know us and still getting to know the way we want to play so it's going to take a bit of time but look, the sooner the better hopefully," he says.

Irish Independent

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