Thursday 22 February 2018

Galway must 'learn from mistakes' to build on promise of 2016, says Comer

Comer: "Overall, when you look back you cannot dwell on the Tipp game too much." Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Galway star Damien Comer has called on the Tribesmen to learn from the "mistakes" of 2016 ahead of their season opener against Sligo in the Connacht SFL on Sunday.

The Tribesmen made a bright start to last year, only missing out on promotion to Division 1 on the last day of the league before beating Mayo on their way to a first provincial title since 2008.

However, they disappointed when going down to Tipperary at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage.

Despite that setback, Comer was keen to focus on the positives of last year ahead of the new season.

"Overall, when you look back you cannot dwell on the Tipp game too much," Comer said last month.

"At the start of the year setting out if you were offered a Connacht title you definitely would have thrown your hat at that. It would have been a priority.

"First of all it was about beating Mayo and then going on to win a Connacht title by beating Roscommon. That was the aim, but then to come up to Croke Park to fall the way we did, it did put a dampener on it, but we cannot dwell on it. We have to learn from our mistakes to build further this season."

Galway head to Sligo this weekend but they will be without their Corofin contingent, which will include talented forward Michael Lundy this time around. Manager Kevin Walsh has also recalled veteran forward Sean Armstrong to the panel after a good year with Salthill Knocknacarra in the Galway club championship.

"I don't think anybody is surprised that he got a call in," Comer said of Armstrong. "We were wondering when he was playing so well would he get the call.

"Obviously he has shown that he still has it. He played against Corofin, they had to have two or three lads around him to try to nullify him and he still managed to pop over scores.

"Obviously he is a big boost, his experience alone, there is no question about the talent that he has. If he can bring that to the table at inter-county level it is going to be massive for our season.

"We are building," he continued. "All the time we have young players coming in and this year we have started training again. There's fresh faces, Army (Armstrong) is back in, so we have a mixture of a bit of experience coming back and you have (Michael) Lundy back as well.

"The winning mentality of the Corofin boys when they join and the bit of youth coming through, it is going to be a nice mix."

Galway needed to win in Cavan in round seven to earn promotion back to the top flight of the NFL in 2016 and while Comer admits that is a target, he's expecting there to be little between the sides once more as Galway look to be a little more consistent this time around.

"What we wanted to do and what Kevin has instilled in us from the start is to try to get performances, to get a consistent performance each week we go out.

"We did that in parts last year. The way we were going, we weren't getting beat, but we still went out to perform.

"We probably got lucky with a few of the draws we got, and unlucky with others, that is the way football goes. This year you have another tough league, you have Cork and Down coming down (from Division 1) and Clare and Kildare coming up. Clare have momentum, Cork will be hungry to get back up so anything we get we are going to earn it. Hopefully, we can get promoted to Division 1."

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