Saturday 18 November 2017

Lohan predicts Galway will be 'such a force' after ending All-Ireland wait

Galway captain David Burke was presented to the Sportsground crowd along with his team-mates during Connacht’s PRO14 game against Southern Kings. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Galway captain David Burke was presented to the Sportsground crowd along with his team-mates during Connacht’s PRO14 game against Southern Kings. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Former All Star Frank Lohan believes that Galway could be a force for the next few years after finally ending their 29-year All-Ireland famine.

The former Clare defender now lives in Galway and has seen at first-hand the strides made in recent years.

He's involved in coaching with the Oranmore-Maree club which produced Gearóid McInerney and Niall Burke, who made such an impact in the All-Ireland final win over Waterford.

"The thing that strikes you when you come up to Galway is just the number of good hurlers around the place and the amount of good clubs," he said.

"It's very, very competitive. Oranmore-Maree are intermediate and even just getting out of this grade is so difficult.

"David Burke said it after Galway won about the quality in the squad. He was talking about another nine that didn't even feature in the matchday plans.

"It takes a big panel to get over the line and you could see that was the way it was with Galway this year, everyone was on the same page. So you can see why they will be such a force," added the double All-Ireland winner.

Lohan rolled back the years on Thursday night, when he played in the Tony Keady Challenge in Athenry, in a game against the Galway seniors to raise money for the family of the late defender. Lohan got to know Keady well in the Oranmore-Maree club, where they both trained underage teams.

"He's an awful loss to Oranmore and to Galway. Tony was a great man. It's just very sad, but testament to him was the size of the crowd in Athenry," said Lohan.

"Everyone was just trying to show their respects in whatever way they can."

Lohan, an accountant based in Oranmore, inevitably keeps a close eye on his native county and former team-mates and he believes Davy Fitzgerald will push on with Wexford, having last week agreed to stay for another season.

"He had a very good year with Wexford, I would say they were very anxious to keep hold of him.

"Next year will be a tougher year again, they will probably expect the same ."

And Lohan, an All-Ireland winner in 1995 and '97 and an All-Star in '99, reckons Clare will do better now that Gerry O'Connor and Donal Moloney have had a season under their belt.

"County management is a tough place to be, so you need a few years to settle in. They could have beaten both Tipp and Cork, but didn't win either. It's very small margins," added Lohan.

Irish Independent

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