Sunday 18 March 2018

'No rocket science' in Finn's bid to end Galway drought

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

IT'S been 14 years since Galway last won the title but manager Noel Finn says his charges will be taking a very simple approach to Sunday's Gala All-Ireland senior final against Wexford.

Finn has a pretty amazing managerial record with the Galway girls.

Back in 2003, when he first took over their juniors, they won league and All-Ireland honours.

Finn then moved on to the intermediates, who immediately won an All-Ireland, and when he returned to them last year, they landed another championship title.

The Killimordaly native arrived with a handful of that intermediate team to freshen up their seniors this season and has immediately led Galway back to their first final in three years after semi-final heartbreaks in 2008 and '09.

Finn's stock has soared particularly because they beat Cork in the semi-final, after a replay -- a seemingly indestructible team who were chasing their ninth final appearance, and a third title, in a row.

Yet Finn insists: "It's camogie, not rocket science! Even after drawing with Cork the first day, I wasn't looking at their strengths, or trying to pinpoint their weaknesses.

"If you start worrying about opponents, you just lose the focus on your own game and your own strengths.

"We don't get carried away with all this talk about tactics. Look, it's not rocket science, it's a game of camogie!

"If you play to your strengths and work hard enough, you'll get the result."

Finn says that was proven by last weekend's All-Ireland hurling final.

"Tipp last Sunday were a great example of it; they just hunted in packs and worked their socks off and our team do work hard for each other," he stresses.

"Our first game with Cork was probably one of the matches of the year so far, there was fantastic intensity and scoring in it.

"I thought we were unlucky enough not to win it," he says of its controversial climax, when Galway felt they should have been awarded a scoreable free that would have sealed it.

In-form veteran Veronica Curtin, the team's only survivor from their last winning side in 1996, bagged two goals in that 3-11 to 1-17 draw.

The replay was in stark contrast, an 0-11 to 0-9 victory for Galway, but Finn has no worries that his team may have peaked for the Cork challenge.

"Matches are better than 10 training sessions: you get that competitive edge and real intensity so I'd have no worries on that score," he says.

Galway have already beaten Wexford this year, in the round-robin stages. That victory was secured in most dramatic style when Jessica Gill came off the bench and goaled with a last-minute free.

One of Galway's stars when they lost the 2008 final, Gill has been confined to a bench role this summer after cruciate surgery, which makes their progress all the more noteworthy.

They have responded really well to Finn's management and he is equally impressed by them.

"They train their three or four nights a week, watch what they eat and have no social lives! It's right up there with the hurling now really," says Finn.

Irish Independent

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