Kevin Walsh hopes Galway's 'Corofin Eight' will make up for lost opportunities
By common consensus, Galway's back-to-back 'Super 8s' wins against Kerry and Kildare last July, qualifying them for the All-Ireland semi-finals, took some of the edge off them for their final round-robin game against Monaghan which consequently had a knock-on effect against Dublin.
Galway manager Kevin Walsh sees it a little differently, however, pointing to his side's first performance against the champions as evidence that, in terms of possession and territory, they were still right on cue.
"If we had a poor first half I would question it, but we had something like 18 chances to Dublin's 12 in the first half," he pointed out.
"We had three goal chances, they had a half a goal chance and they got it. We had ample opportunities to be five or six points up at half-time and that wasn't lack of performance, it was lack of shooting," added Walsh, whose team are first in action on Sunday when they travel to Ruislip to play London in a Connacht quarter-final.
"We were in there 18 times with shots, and none were crazy shots. I think we missed something like 2-8, and if we even got 1-4 of that including the penalty? Just our ratio was really below what it should be on the day. We all know if Dublin get up by five or six points they can shut up shop and they are really good at it.
"If some team is going to beat them they are just going to have to do what we did in the first half, only take the chances.
"If it was a thing where we were wiped of the field in the first half, I certainly would be looking at that argument and saying it is possibly right (about the Monaghan game)."
Galway fell away badly in the second half and momentum did eventually stall but for much of the spring, despite a crippling injury list at times, they have managed to maintain a decent standard, backing up the manager's belief that they have at last found some consistency.
No other team, not even Dublin, have won as many Division 1 league games in the last two campaigns as Galway. Small consolation perhaps but something to grasp on to nonetheless.
"If we were sitting here two years ago that was one word that stood out at the time, consistency. In Division 1, depth of panel would be something we have looked at. That's a positive from the league, the fact that even with the club commitments and the long-term injuries that we were quite comfortable in Division 1 so that was nice to see and obviously again, back to consistency, you would like to have a situation that the team can work even when there are fellas missing."
Damien Comer missed the entire campaign and won't return until mid-June, Cillian McDaid and Declan Kyne were lost to injury early on, while Peter Cooke and Ciarán Duggan have also been sidelined, on top of Paul Conroy.
But Walsh has now introduced eight Corofin players, as high as any recent All-Ireland club champions with Martin and Mike Farragher, Dylan Wall, Kieran Molloy, Bernard Power Liam Silke, Ian Burke and Jason Leonard all on board.
Walsh insists they'll be given every chance to make their claims for starting berths but admits all players in their situation are at a disadvantage because of the scheduling.
Downfall "It is quite a number (Corofin) but they have had a good solid year. The downfall is when everyone is working together on team plans, right up to St Patrick's Day, some of the lads are missing out on that and it can be a hindrance, trying to put your name first on a team sheet.
"It's not their fault or our fault, it's the way the competition structures are," he said, welcoming the prospective move to a January conclusion for club final activity next year.
Walsh says criticism of his team's style has to be judged against the progress they have made and the fact that most of the other teams are not too dissimilar to them.
"I have to move away from that because it doesn't matter really.
"I think most of that comes from a few empty vessels, and empty vessels make the most noise so we have to be very careful that we get the best out of our team and it's quite obvious that all of the top teams are very similar to ourselves.
"We can't change anyone's opinion. It's very easy to say things but if everything was balanced we would say we are very similar to most of the top teams."