Saturday 20 January 2018

Clear-the-air meetings as Galway face harsh truths

David Burke and members of the Galway backroom team show their disappointment after Sunday's loss to Dublin
David Burke and members of the Galway backroom team show their disappointment after Sunday's loss to Dublin
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A frank exchange of views between players and management on Monday night, followed by a fiercely intense training match behind closed doors 24 hours later, has been Galway's response to the 12-point defeat by Dublin in last Sunday's Leinster SHC final.

Interestingly, some players not previously on the panel were invited in for Tuesday's training game, fuelling speculation that management are considering a radical overhaul for the All-Ireland quarter-final on July 28. Alternatively, it may have been done to allow for injuries and ensure that a full 15-a-side game could be played.

Drafting in new panellists would be a bold move, although there is a view among some Galway supporters that minor adjustments won't be enough to bring about a return to the form that came so close to landing the All-Ireland title last year.

It's understood that the Galway players and management met separately at the same venue on Monday night, prior to coming together to exchange views on why it all went so badly wrong on Sunday and to briefly discuss plans to relaunch their All-Ireland bid.

Galway went into the Leinster final as 8/15 favourites to retain their title but were blitzed by Dublin, who seized provincial glory for the first time since 1961. It was Galway's biggest championship defeat (2-25 to 2-12) in Croke Park since 1975. It was also the second successive game in Croke Park where they conceded a total of 31 points – Kilkenny hit them for 3-22 in the All-Ireland replay last year.

While Dublin move into the All-Ireland semi-finals on August 11, Galway must prepare for a quarter-final clash with the winners of Saturday's qualifier clashes, involving Kilkenny v Waterford and Clare v Wexford. Quarter-final pairings will be made on Monday.

The next two weeks will be crucial for Galway as they attempt to re-float their All-Ireland ambitions in a season where their form has been erratic.

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