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Tribe revival shows value of giving managers time - Lane


Former Galway manager and player Noel Lane

Former Galway manager and player Noel Lane

Former Galway manager and player Noel Lane

Providing management stability is not something Galway hurling is renowned for but former manager and player Noel Lane believes it has been critical in the county's return to an All-Ireland final after three years.

Lane himself was removed from the position in 2002, just a year after the Tribesmen had lost an All-Ireland final to Tipperary. And he recalled how, last year, a vote to remove Anthony Cunningham after three years was almost successful.

"Galway administration don't do patience. There was a lot of turnover of managers and I feel with myself, at the time, that it wasn't the right thing to do. But that was the way it was," said Lane, speaking at yesterday's launch of the One Direct-sponsored Kilmacud Sevens hurling tournament which takes place on Saturday, September 6.

"There were managers before me that got the two years, and if you didn't deliver an All-Ireland you were out. You didn't get time to build and to grow a team. You have to get experience as well in that role as manager."

Lane said Cunningham only survived last year because of a chairman's casting vote.

"A lot of people tried to get rid of him last year," he said. "The vote was split and it was the chairman's vote swung it in his favour. It was three against three. There was a lot of mood for change.


"Again, in my opinion, that wasn't the right thing but that's Galway and the story up to now has proven that it was the right decision to keep him, although there were some people the last day at the end of the game that, had we been beaten, might have been going down to the sideline to Anthony.

"But he held tough. He had his plan and he stuck with it and it worked out, he got the result when it mattered."

Cunningham is the first Galway manager to take a team back to an All-Ireland final since Cyril Farrell in 1993, and that stability is beginning to have an impact.

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"That should be significant and would be a help to Anthony," added Lane, scorer of the crucial goal against Kilkenny in the 1987 All-Ireland final.

Lane senses that there is "huge positivity" in Galway that is permeating down to the minors.

"Even the last day against Tipperary, what really impressed me was our minors winning against Kilkenny," he said.

"Kilkenny were the better team in the drawn match and should have won it, the better team in extra-time and should have won it and they were the better team the last day and should have won it.

"But Galway showed massive passion, spirit, guile and perseverance to hang in and won a game against the head. There is real belief there, all round."

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