Wednesday 21 November 2018

With pressure off, Tribe can win more titles - McInerney

Gearóid McInerney hopes Galway can continue winning titles following this year’s All- Ireland triumph. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Gearóid McInerney hopes Galway can continue winning titles following this year’s All- Ireland triumph. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Gearóid McInerney's day job means he's in no danger of forgetting what he and the Galway hurlers pulled off this year.

Even as the dust settles on their All-Ireland final win and the new season comes into view, McInerney gets constant reminders of what Galway managed this year through the family business.

"We have a sports shop in Oranmore and I'm working in that, which is busy," he explains.

"Winning the All-Ireland would have been a big boost because it is a very GAA-orientated shop so there is a good clientele there."

McInerney insists there's not too many children in looking for his No 6 jersey. Instead, the run-up to Christmas has seen a Galway jersey with "'17 Champs" stamped on the back become the top-seller.

Small independent sports shops have struggled across the country in recent years but winning Liam MacCarthy has been good for business.

"There is a big difference," he states. "It was always kept going even when hurling or football wasn't as high but it's kind of a bonus now because we were doing well without (the GAA) going well. Now you are in bonus territory with the amount of jerseys being sold and the buzz around.

"Even the Galway footballers are making good strides and you never know what they can do next year, they could be among the big teams.

"It's a great boost and it's great to be around people too when there is such a high around."

McInerney's brilliance at centre-back was a key component of their All-Ireland win. With his father Gerry starring on the last Galway team to win an All-Ireland, Galway hurling supporters were always keenly aware of McInerney.

And this year, it all came together.

"It's a bit of everything," he says, by way of explaining his rich vein of form. "A combination of training hard, working on the things that didn't work out. Being brutally honest with yourself was a big thing as well. What did you need to improve on, what didn't you do well in that match. Confidence grows with that.

"Not putting too much pressure on yourself was a big thing too. Letting it go. What will be will be. You can't over-think things. Go with the flow of it."

And with the long wait over, and a medal in his pocket, he believes they can go on to bigger things.

Anxious

"You feel that weight (of not winning) every year. People were getting anxious for Galway to win one: 'Will we win it this year? Won't we?'

"With this off our back we can probably express ourselves a bit more. Go out and be ourselves. Hopefully, you'll see a bit more confidence in the team, confidence among supporters, without that, 'Oh will it be another year, another Galway story'. That should be gone now.

"There's no reason at all why we can't start producing top-quality teams. There's no guarantees of winning it but it would be great to be competitive at the business side of things, really give ourselves a chance."

He's been trying to drink in the few months since the All-Ireland. However, he's conscious too that there is a balance to be struck between enjoying the end of a 29-year wait and getting in shape for the 2018 season.

The team holiday will bring the Tribesmen to New York and Cancun and that should put the tin hat on the glory of 2017. But McInerney insists some work will be done before that.

"We're trying to enjoy it, but it's always in the back of your mind - next year, and what you need to improve on.

"We'll do a small bit before we go, so we can enjoy the holiday, and then it's gym programmes, then back to the serious end. But it's good to have that rather than bring lads back too early and fade out. I'd say lads will be raring to go after that rather than bringing lads back too early, lads fading out, being distracted, the whole lot."

Chances

So they have been happy to celebrate a year that saw them win league, Leinster and All-Ireland titles while the county minors also tasted glory on All-Ireland final day. Next year looks like it will be a good one for Galway too as they will be afforded home games in Salthill.

"Hopefully now we will put stuff together. It's all about chances really. If we put ourselves in with a chance of winning and one or two bounces of the ball go our way.

"Watching the match against Tipp there was nothing in it. It could have went either way so if we put ourselves in with the best chance there's no reason why we can't win another one or two in the next few years or whatever it takes.

"It's a matter of training as hard as you can and doing things right and hopefully have a bit of luck with players staying injury-free and hopefully we'll do it. It won't be for a lack of trying anyway."

Irish Independent

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