Brian Talty backs Tribe to rally but fall short of confident Dubs
Optimism around Galway football has receded after last weekend's double-scores defeat to Monaghan but former Tribe midfielder Brian Talty expects a restoration of the "intense, physical approach," that has defined the Tribesmen so often this season, for Saturday's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.
Talty, who has spent much of his adult life based in Dublin and served as a selector to both Tommy Lyons and Paul Caffrey when they were in charge of Dublin throughout the last decade, admits he was surprised by the scale of the loss to Monaghan, which has put them in the flight path of the All-Ireland champions three weeks earlier than they would have wished for.
"That's something that you have in your head. Is it something that will set them back or will it just motivate them more?" he wondered of the eight-point loss.
"A lot of people were optimistic about Galway until last weekend. Now sometimes it happens where you have one bad performance you go from being a huge challenger to being nothing. If they played again like they did against Monaghan they have no chance," he said.
"I expect a different approach because now you are challenging the best team in the country and the best team that has been around for a long time. There will be a different mental attitude, I'm sure.
"And also the fact that they played poorly last week, the guys in charge are no fools, neither are the players. The gaps that Monaghan found in the Galway defence, they will be tightened up a little bit.
"Hopefully, it will be a more intense, physical approach and even the defensive system they use that people are complaining about, there'll be less of the pointing and more of the pushing up. They stood off the play too much," he suggested.
Talty, who featured in the last championship game between the teams in the infamous 1983 All-Ireland final, is certain Galway will have a big stakeholding over the next few years after a progressive season. But this semi-final will come too soon for them, he fears.
"They might not be ready for this year but they are definitely on the right path. What they are doing from a training point of view is very impressive," said Talty who now works in the GAA's National development Centre in Abbotstown.
Tactically, he felt it was essential they made themselves much harder to beat this year, even if their method of play has drawn criticism.
"People are giving out about the defensive system, Galway had to put something in place. People are giving out they're a little bit aggressive. You're not going to win anything unless you have that intensity and physicality and Galway are getting that now. It might not just be there yet," he said.
Galway drew with Dublin in Salthill last March when both sides were essentially assured of a place in the league final but they didn't make the most of their extra man down the home straight in that subsequent final and lost by four points.
Talty doesn't see Dublin being taken down this year and feels their status as All-Ireland champions over the last three years is allowing them to take more chances.
"When you have All-Ireland medals in your back pocket it gives you great confidence, it gives you an opportunity to chance things. The likes of (Stephen) Cluxton wouldn't be worried about a short kick-out whereas the goalkeeper on the other side might be afraid of it."
Talty suspects however that the loss of Diarmuid Connolly will be felt a little more from this point on, despite the impressive form shown by Paul Flynn and Cormac Costello at the weekend.
"No matter what anyone says, when it comes to the real crunch of it all, the likes of Connolly was required to come in."
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