Saturday 21 April 2018

Tribesmen will gain nothing by 'being nice', warns Meehan

Former Galway legend Declan Meehan says the Tribesmen know there is 'nothing to be gained by playing nice' as Derry come to face Galway tomorrow
Former Galway legend Declan Meehan says the Tribesmen know there is 'nothing to be gained by playing nice' as Derry come to face Galway tomorrow
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Galway great Declan Meehan believes the Tribesmen know there "is nothing to be gained by being nice" as they look to continue their back door adventure when Derry come to Galway tomorrow.

The Tribesmen have endured some heartbreaking setbacks in the Qualifiers over the past few years but Kevin Walsh's men recorded their first away win in the back door since 2001 last weekend when beating Armagh in the Athletic Grounds in a battling display.

Despite not scoring for the final 20 minutes, Galway made sure they wouldn't let their lead slip and even picked up two black cards in injury time to ensure Armagh couldn't find a way back into the contest.

The Caltra clubman served as a selector under previous manager Alan Mulholland and believes this young Galway team is heading in the right direction.

"Like Mayo, we've learned by harsh experience that there's nothing to be gained by being nice. Nothing to be gained from being soft," he said.

"You need a bit of steel. If you look at the top teams - Donegal, Dublin and Mayo now - they are all steely and hardened teams.

"So if you're not at that level, you're not going to compete. I don't know if we're there yet, in terms of the hard edge, but that's what has to be there."

And he believes that win in Armagh could be a significant psychological milestone for the county.

"That Galway team has gone around the country and lost.

"A few years ago, we were in Antrim and got beaten there, so I think they will take a bit from that.

"To win a tough game and not to concede a late goal that would have got Armagh a draw or a victory... they'd definitely take something from that.

"I know it wasn't pretty but I think they just wanted to get over that hurdle, and get a win on the road."

Meehan was speaking at the launch the Croke Park museum's 'Dynasties' series that pays tribute to some of the GAA's most famous families and features the likes of the Kernans from Armagh, the Brogans from Dublin and the Larkins from Kilkenny.

Included among the Meehan family's medal haul are the pair of All-Ireland medals Declan won as part of the Galway team that also included current Tribes boss manager Walsh.

"When I was playing, Kevin was kind of the daddy of the team. He was a brilliant midfielder, and we never really replaced the likes of Kevin from the Galway team.

"He's a very cool customer. He doesn't get excited too easily. That's a quality that's good in a management role. He had a few good years with Sligo, but it's a tough job.

"I was involved with Alan Mulholland last year and it's not easy to be there. But I think he's definitely making steps in the right direction."

Galway are now just 70 minutes from a return to the All-Ireland quarter-final stage they reached last year. And Meehan believes getting past the last-eight stage is the next major target for the county.

"We need to break through the quarter-final barrier, if you know what I mean. We got there last year against Kerry, and Kerry won comfortably on the day. If we can get over Derry and just build gradually. With every game, they'll get more confidence."

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