Wednesday 13 December 2017

Galway's poor Croker record increases the incentive for Walsh's crew

Galway manager Kevin Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile
Galway manager Kevin Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Twelfth time lucky? Galway footballers' dismal record in Croke Park for most of the new Millennium will increase the incentive for Kevin Walsh's side when they take on Kildare in the Division 2 final on Sunday.

Incredibly, the Tribesmen haven't won there since the 2001 All-Ireland final. They have had 11 games in Croke Park since then, losing ten and drawing one.

It leaves them as the only county in the top 24 without a win at HQ over the past 15 years, an embarrassment they would never have thought remotely possible when they beat Meath by nine points in the 2001 final.

Galway's terrible run started 11 months later when Kerry ended their reign as champions in the quarter-final.

Galway drew with Donegal in the 2003 quarter-final and have lost nine times since then, the most recent coming last year when they were easily outgunned by Tipperary in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

contrast It's all in marked contrast to Galway's successful years in 1998-2001, a period in which they won seven, drew one and lost one of nine games in Croke Park, form which earned them appearances in four All-Ireland finals, two of which they won while the other two were drawn and lost.

Ironically, two of the Croke Park victories were against Kildare in the 1998 All-Ireland and 2000 semi-final.

They beat Kildare last Sunday to ensure promotion to Division 1 for the first time in six years. However, Kildare had already secured promotion and are likely to be far more formidable on Sunday as they attempt to avoid defeat in a league final for a second successive year, having lost to Clare in the Division 3 final last season.

Galway's tale of woe since 2001 features defeats by Kerry (4), Cork (2), Tyrone (1), Mayo (1), Donegal (1), Tipperary (1).

GALWAY'S CROKE PARK WOES

2016: Tipperary 3-13 Galway 1-10 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

2015: Donegal 3-12 Galway 0-11 (All-Ireland qualifiers)

2014: Kerry 1-20 Galway 2-10 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

2013: Cork 1-17 Galway 1-16 (All-Ireland qualifiers)

2008: Kerry 1-21 Galway 1-16 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

2007: Mayo 2-10 Galway 1-12 (Allianz League semi-final)

2005: Cork 2-12 Galway 2-11 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

2004: Tyrone 1-16 Galway 0-11 (All-Ireland qualifiers)

2004: Kerry 3-11 Galway 1-16 (Allianz League final)

2003: Donegal 0-13 Galway 1-10 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

2002: Kerry 2-17 Galway 1-12 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

Irish Independent

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