Galway job begins with 'clean slate', says Micheál Donoghue
New Galway manager Micheál Donoghue will meet the full squad for the first time tonight as he heads into one of the toughest roles in hurling.
The controversial ousting of Anthony Cunningham has raised the stakes considerably for the players, but while they are acutely conscious of the pressures that lie ahead, Donoghue says it will have no relevance to how he goes about the job.
"I wasn't privy to anything that went on. Like everyone else, I was watching from the outside. It was only when Anthony went and a vacancy arose that I thought about having a go for the position.
"I was thrilled to be offered the job and I'm going into it with a clean slate," said Donoghue.
The Clarinbridge man beat off a number of contenders and will now attempt to mastermind Galway's first All-Ireland win since 1988.
Since Donoghue's appointment was ratified only a few days before Christmas and with many of the players away on holidays until this week, the new manager will be 'winging' it to some degree when Galway begin their Walsh Cup campaign against DCU in Ballinasloe on Sunday.
"We won't have done much but it's not as if we're starting from scratch. Anthony and his management team did a huge amount of good work over the past number of years - I want to acknowledge that," said Donoghue.
While the circumstances under which he became manager are unusual, he doesn't believe that they will add to the pressure.
"The reality is that every manager is under pressure every year. That's the way it is and that's the way it will be with me too but I'm looking forward to the challenge. Getting a chance to manage your own county is a huge honour," he said.
Donoghue, a Galway All-Ireland minor, U-21 and Allianz League medal winner in the '90s, steered Clarinbridge to All-Ireland club glory in 2011.
He also served as a selector under Vincent Mullins when Galway won All-Ireland U-21 title in 2005 and '07. More recently, he worked under Eamon O'Shea in Tipperary.