Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sligo's kevin Walsh turns attention to next round after New York 'game from hell'

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

HAVING described playing New York as the "game from hell" on Sunday, what must Kevin Walsh make of Sligo's date with Roscommon or Galway on June 9?

Sligo left the States last night with the satisfaction of a job well done, but the northwesterners know full well that much stiffer tasks await. The Exiles barely laid a glove on their visitors in a 3-21 to 0-6 hammering that left many questioning the merits of the fixture altogether.

Of course, it meant a lot to the people who were at Gaelic Park on a day that sees the diaspora come together for a celebration of their heritage -- but seeing the locals hammered did little good.

Having run Galway close two years ago, New York have now lost heavily to Roscommon and Sligo and are, perhaps, a victim of their near success. Their championship is over before the rest of the teams involved have begun.

"It's a game you're expected to win and it's the game from hell for management," Walsh said.

"At the same time, what New York are trying to do here with four American-born players and the route they are trying to take it, I don't see a problem with it.

"Lots of their players got experience, they didn't do any worse than some previous teams so I don't know what would work, but with the underage coming up they could be strong in three or four years' time.


"It is a match that, as a manager, you don't look forward to. You don't know what to expect. One year there is a heavy defeat and then Galway were very lucky to come out of here two years ago, and Mayo were lucky in London last year.

"We certainly wouldn't have taken it for granted -- with the flights it is always a challenge to get your body and system right. We took it seriously -- it was the same as playing Mayo or Galway. It's about the next match."

The former Galway star described the injury that kept Eamonn O'Hara out of the clash as a small strain picked up in a training session on the Gaelic Park astroturf on Friday, while David Kelly's ankle injury is progressing well and Walsh is hopeful he will be ready for Sligo's next clash.

"We are hoping he will be ready for June 9, but I'm saying this every week. David has a problem with his ankle and a few different areas but he is looking strong now, so we would be hopeful," Walsh explained.

Roscommon meet Galway at Dr Hyde Park on May 20 to decide who Sligo will meet next time out and Walsh is well aware of their strengths and that his side -- which featured three championship debutants on Sunday -- will need to step things up.

"Roscommon were Connacht champions two years ago, their U-21s did well to get to the final," he said. "Everything is flying in that county. Galway are U-21 champions and were minor champions four or five years ago so there is loads of talent there."

Irish Independent

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