Monday 11 December 2017

'Second-season syndrome' jibes unfair on Galway – Fergal Moore

Galway captain Fergal Moore
Galway captain Fergal Moore
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Galway entered the Leinster championship in 2009 primarily to play more games, but their captain Fergal Moore believes they were decidedly "undercooked" for the provincial final earlier this month.

With only one competitive game against Laois to fall back on since a disappointing defeat to Kilkenny in the league semi-final in mid-April, Moore felt that the touch and feel that comes with competitive games deserted the Tribesmen.

"It was a huge factor," argued Moore (below), while also crediting Dublin's impressive display on the back of four previous weekends of action.

"You can't take away from that – they were excellent all over the pitch and they thoroughly deserved their win.

"From our point of view, everyone was hurling well in training but it was just that Dublin played at the top of their game, at the peak of their powers.

"I think the game will bring us on hugely in terms of tactics and physical fitness. You can't replicate championship intensity, no matter how you try. We will learn a lot from it."

The Galway management and players had discussions, among themselves and as a group, in the days after that Leinster final defeat to rethink their strategy towards training and try to find momentum again.

Changes in personnel are also anticipated ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final with Clare.

"It is important to have a meeting to refocus the minds," added Moore. "We had goals at the start of the year but goals come and go and they can change.

"We had to regroup, we had a round of championship games at the weekend so we knew that we were not going to meet before that.

"It was very important to meet after the match. We did the same last year after we won – whether you win or lose it is very important to analyse every game."

Moore is adamant that Galway can still rescue their season – and that it hasn't been as bad as it seems.

"I suppose people will talk about second-season syndrome, and that is always a risk, but people said we had a bad league yet we still reached the semi-final," he said.

"I would class that as a fairly decent run, considering we were in a relegation play-off last season.

"The facts are that we showed up in the Leinster final off the pace and our performance was nowhere good enough – it wasn't anywhere near the standards of last year and we paid the price.

"I think one performance – for the supporters anyway... and the whole thing lifts again in the county, because one performance would get you through to the same stage as if you had won the Leinster final, you would be through to an All-Ireland semi-final.

"In times past you would have had nine months to lick your wounds and think about what you had done wrong and what you might change, but with the qualifiers it gives you a second chance and everyone is delighted to have it and everyone is motivated to make full use of it."

Despite the dearth of games Moore accepts that Galway knew the format in advance, and after playing in Leinster for the last five years, Moore knows there is a lot to be said for it.

Occasion

"Every player wants to be playing games but having played in the provincial championship for the first time, it is great to be part of it of the Leinster occasion and the Leinster final," he said.

"You saw the scenes at the end of the Munster final last weekend. I can see the argument for playing those games as well.

"We didn't have a provincial championship ourselves to play for and now that we have in Leinster, it is a huge thing to play for.

"It is very clear that we are not moaning about the system this year because we did well in it last year and we just have to get on with it."

Moore accepts that no one in a Galway jersey could be satisfied with their performance.

"I don't think anyone who wore a Galway jersey would be happy with their performance.

"It was way off the mark for a number of reasons but the beauty of the championship is that you are only as good as your last game and that applies equally when you play well and you play poorly.

"You always have the next game to look forward to."

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