Kevin Walsh takes over in Galway

Kevin Walsh

Photo: Irish Independent

We’re not the only ones appointing new managers this weather, though I think it’s fair to say we’re pretty much on our own in terms of the screwed-up way we went about our business in doing so. The neighbours are in appointment mode too, with Kevin Walsh last night handed the reins of the Galway senior football team for the next three years. The double All-Ireland winning midfielder was one of two nominees for the job but when the other candidate, Pete Warren, pulled out a while ago Walsh’s appointment became a foregone conclusion.

From the new man’s perspective, it’s probably not a bad time to be coming in. Galway have been in a rut for years, having last landed the Nestor Cup as far back as 2008, and while Alan Mulholland did manage to steer them as far as the All-Ireland quarter-final stage this year, the county side never enjoyed the kind of renaissance under his leadership that his repeated All-Ireland successes at under-age level promised. For Walsh, the challenge will now be to harness the talent that is always at Galway’s disposal to greater effect, starting one assumes with the aim of ending their long run of underachievement west of the Shannon.

Whether or not he’ll be able to do this is another issue. Walsh’s tenure at Sligo started off brightly following his appointment there in 2008 but while his CV boasts championship wins over us and Galway in 2010 it didn’t extend to a provincial title success that year. Another win over Galway followed for his Yeatsmen side in 2012 (an historic first championship win on Galway soil it was for them too) but another Connacht final defeat followed, this time to us. It was downhill all the way from there for the Kilanin man, his time in charge of the Magpies ending in calamitous fashion last year following a disastrous championship campaign that saw them losing to London before bowing out in the qualifiers to Derry.

Starting again with a clean slate in charge of his native county is, though, likely to re-energise him and the fact that we’re under new management as well going into next year could help Walsh’s cause. James Horan had a 100% strike rate in Connacht championship matches in his four years in charge (assuming that the 2011 extra-time victory over London can be chalked down as a win) and while the aim for our lads will obviously be to push on again in 2015, our long unbeaten run in Connacht won’t last forever. With Roscommon continuing to improve as well, next year’s provincial championship could then be one of the hardest fought campaigns in the west for years.

49 thoughts on “Kevin Walsh takes over in Galway

  1. Kevin Walsh, seems to be a gentleman and a top class manager, having done it all as a player. Eamon O Hara’s, comments on the Sunday Game , about his management of Sligo, were out of order.
    Good luck to him, and Galway. I can see Connacht football getting better and better and
    won’t be surprised to see two Connacht teams competing in an All Ireland semi final or All Ireland Final, in a couple of years.

  2. Galway need to get into Division 1. They recognise this I think and it will be one of Walshes priorities. But he also has inherited a good squad. The experience gained form last year especially in Croke Park where they seemed a little in awe of Kerry will stand to them.

    Add that to the fact that in next years Connacht championship any major game they play will probably be in Pearse Park – well they have a pretty good platform to begin with.

  3. You have got to wish Kevin Walsh all the best, especially at getting into Div 1 next year! We have along way to travel to our away games, who’s the nearest Tyrone or Donegal. It would be great if the Rossies could get themselves into Div 1 as well for the same reason. But the least Mayo fans have a right to hope for is that we retain our Div 1 status and keep hold of the Nestor cup. Mayo came along way under James Horans management, we now got to get a stage further but remember we got to hold onto the real improvement of the last 4 years, no slippage. Over a month after the anger of injustice of Limrick has diminished, I have came to the conclusion that Mayo were maybe the best team in Ireland in 2014 very tight margins between the 4 semifinalists, but we were not as good as in 2013. In my opinion the football standard was higher in 2013. Still theres hope for even better, was at the club semis on Sunday some very good footballers on show not yet played for Mayo. EG Patrick Durcan and Danny Kirby. Now I know Kirby has played senior for Mayo but he must have done something wrong, like scoring 4 goals in half a match and the good news is that hes only 22 years old. What about the rest of the O Conner clan and goals, There are many young footballers all over the county that could be brilliant for Mayo, we have them in abundance, but do we have them in the positions we need the most? That’s the big challenge for Pat and Noel. Well it looks like it could be a goal fest in the club final,Or will Castlebar employ a blanket? in which case Ballintubber will have to do likewise should be interesting! Will the blanket come in big time next year for every county?, I hope not but what will happen? either way Kevin Walsh, Noel and Pat and every one else will have to take notice.

  4. Best of luck to Kevin Walshe this can only be of benefit to us as we will.have to maintain the high standard that James has brought us to
    With Roscommon and Galway breathing down our neck, this will focus our minds and have us adequately prepared for the bigger challanges ahead
    Aside of all this I hope that Noel and Pat introduce some new talent and give them decent game time.We saw glimpses of players introduced by James but never saw enough to see what they are really like.Adam Gallagher Evan Regan D Coen young O Shea O Connor Mikey Sweeney and also some decent backs cover particularly the full back line.

  5. pete, with all due respect, you dont know what the future holds, if you had told a galway man or woman after they beat meath in the 2001 final that they wouldnt win a game in croker until at least 2015 they would have laughed at you. its going to take someone very special to motivate galways footballers to become what they need to become,to be in division 1 and be competitive in it and even more special to get them back at the top of the table for summer football.
    galway and roscommon definetly have great individual players, they just dont have enough of them playing as a team at the moment at senior level

  6. That lad Plunket from Ballintubber was good also. Mcloughlin stood out fro Knockmore

    Kirby may not have the pace for County Midfield but could if the occasion called for it be our Donaghy at full foward. There is much young talent out there but have they the commitment required, I thought that Varley was well marked by Cunniffe

  7. Galway are years away from an All-Ireland. Walsh will bring them on – and if we have to travel to Pearse Stadium to meet them in 2015, it could be a long day – but even he can’t make All-Ireland winners out of them.

    Personally I think he might get them into the last four, which would at least break their Croke Park duck. But despite two promising midfielders plus a special forward talent in Shane Walsh, overall they’re light years behind the Top Five (this year’s semi-finalists plus Cork).

  8. As a massive Galway football supporter – I’m probably a bit disappointed with this appointment.It really seems to have been done purely for financial reasons (i.e we don’t have the finances to appoint a proven top class manager and all the back room setup that would entail).
    It had to be somebody from within the county & Kevin was realistically the only candidate then.
    Kevin Walsh was a legendary footballer for us but I’m not so sure about his managerial record.
    Ask any Sligo lads and they’ll tell you they were delighted to see the back of him.
    He has no real track record of achievement at club level either within or without Galway.
    Of course he has to be given a chance now that he’s in place & I will certainly be supporting the team but if I’m being honest i don’t see us doing anything under his watch.

  9. Kevin Walsh has a huge job on his hands. I don’t rate galway as a threat to us and I think Roscommon are a better team. He will probably bring them on a bit and they will be more physical but the talent outside Shane Walsh isn’t there.

  10. We’ve been observing this Galway team on shakey foundations. People throw around phrases like light years away n years from winning an All Ireland. It is easier sort a defence than to find top quality forwards. Galway have managed to score fairly heavy over the past two seasons. They’re not a one man show in Shane Walsh. Their young midfielders will only get better.

  11. I just had a eureka moment, I was thinking about Castlebar v Garrymore on Sunday, both in,Red I figured out what,Mayo did wrong in Limrick, if we played in blue just like Kerry the ref wouldn’t know who to favour, surly we’d win then!

  12. I believe Galway will be competitive next few seasons. They have turned the corner and are on the way back. They always had Hugh resources at their disposal. I know some people that know the man and he is held in high regard. They have a great chance to exit Div 2, as most of their opposition are second Div teams from Leinster. If they get passed the first one all the others will fall. The Roscommon game away will be interesting for both sides.

  13. Interesting comments from Galwayman about Kevin Walsh. Think you might be too negative about him, whatever the challenge of bringing Galway on. Beating Mayo and Galway in the CC is not nothing, even if they both were poor in those years. In other words Sligo were highly competitive and tough. Mayo only beat them by a whisker in the CF in ’12, where, interestingly in the light of Mayo views on Kerry this year), many Sligo people still talk about Mayo’s cynical approach of fouling in the last 8 minutes or so, to avoid a Sligo goal.

  14. Galway and Roscommon will win a Connacht title in the next 5 years. Our dominance is coming to and end….that does not have to be a bad thing though. More competitive games, if it means we are knocked out and have to play a few qualifier games in 2015 or after then we should not fret too much…it should not faze us.

  15. Also off topic and some importnant info here (hope you dont mind WJ) –

    As I suspected there is a quota on season tickets so those who are thinking of dumping the Caridre Maigh Eo tickets may need to think twice as you may not get the GAA season ticket.

    No surprise Dublin and ourselves appear to be the best two supported counties in Ireland.

  16. ”It is easier sort a defence than to find top quality forwards”

    So true,a lot of people just dont get it.

  17. What is worrisome in Mayo is the coaching falloff in some clubs. Kiltimach/Swinford/Charlestown. There is a sizeable population there and at some age groups a combined 15 from all three neighbouring clubs would still be average. Recently Swinford were hammered by Mayo Gaels at u15b level. Only four years ago Swinford beat Ballina in minor A. I’ve also noticed Ballina have slipped alot at all levels. One time they had a 2 – 9 that was almost all inter county standard players. Yes we didn’t win all Ireland when these clubs were strong. But example Kevin Keane Swinford was tearing up Division 1 one year all pace, strength, skill n goalscoring. Never got a lookin ahead of clearly inferior players. Way I see it now if Ballintubber have Cillian inspiring youth of Ballintubber could create a dominant force. Amazing how good they are for a small pick, similar Garrymore.

  18. How exactly have Galway turned the corner? They beat London, Sligo & Tipp this year. Hardly household names. I can’t see them being a threat to us at all. I’m well clued into Galways club scene and bar corofin the rest are less than average. Emigration and a lack of discipline has hurt them but the players aren’t there. I refer to discipline because of the two players dropped during the summer for late night drinking. Roscommon are the team we should fear most. Good defence, middling midfield and decent forwards. Their the ones not to be underestimated.

  19. A fresh pair of eyes on the Galway scene should plug the holes in that Mullholland’s team. They need a couple of experienced players in key positions in the defence to be decent. Division 2 is as handy as its been in a few years, which gives them a chance to try out players They have a big pick and the facilities to progress.

  20. Patriot, next year is 2015 , we will have Ross in Castlebar (pre final) and Galway will be in Salthill at any stage inc final. Personally i see Galway as the threat next year . They have also won two under 21 all Irelands since 2011 .. It’s not just Shane Walsh (an outrageous talent) , the likes of Conroy and Cummins are very good on their day, they have the likes of Ian Burke to come in yet too from 21s . These guys are excellent footballers . I think youre wrong to dismiss Galway, they are coming , i strongly believe they are coming to join us soon.

  21. Don’t think the draw for 2015 has been made yet Sean?

    There are no guarantees – we won Connacht in 2012 by beating Leitrim and Sligo.

  22. Ahh i know the draw is not made, what im saying is if we draw Roscommon before the final the venue will be in Castlebar, and if we get Galway at any stage it will be Salthill.

  23. Sean Burke is right about the venue for if we meet Roscommon and Galway. I think the draw is due to be made a week from tonight on 09th Oct.

  24. I see the independent team of the year and donoghy is there instead of o connor no way I know donoghy was brill in the last 3 game but I would have cillian ahead of if is picked on the all stars team ita joke. Donoghy did not play at all during the summer

  25. Cait if Mayo had got a late goal and ended up beating Kerry Cillian would have missed the final for being stupid. Donaghy kept his head when kerry looked like losing and won them an All ireland. That sways it for me.

  26. That’s a joke of a justification Pat.
    If Cillian O’Connor doesn’t get an All Star this year and Donaghy does, well it will be a pure joke, end of

  27. Donoghy did not start the summer and it’s awfully unfair a guy misses out to a player who only played 3 championship games an not having a go a donoghy just my opionon

  28. Cillian is a better footballer than Donaghy in terms of there is a lot more to his game and he has a longer future obviously with him being only 22.

    Kieran Donaghy won the all Ireland for Kerry this year.

    Who gets the all star?

  29. If donoghy get s it the it’s a handy award for him anyway. He remark on brolly made up my mind about I know brolly is gets on people nerves but I thought he was a bit out of order.

  30. It should be between Donaghy and M Murphy, not between Donaghy and COC. All stars are not about who won the All Ireland! Although it seems like that sometimes!

  31. Donoghy won his third(?) AI medal. Closed the deal when it matters. To the winner the spoils as it should be.

  32. Sean Burke, you have criticised mayo players like Dillon and Moran all year and have been proven wrong constantly. You might have some opinions and good luck with them. But I have to wonder if you are from mayo or if your in another county. I don’t need to be told that next year is 2015. What’s that about? It doesn’t matter where we play galway we will wallop them. Bar Shane Walsh I don’t believe another one of their players would make our first 15. It’s a total myth that they are on the rise. There is no evidence of it. They have one good young footballer and some people lose the run of themselves. You can have an opinion all ya like but that doesn’t make anyone right. I believe that Castlebar & Ballintubber at full strength could actually beat galway. To say that cummins is very good on anyday is bewildering. Ian Burke isn’t making the corofin senior club team. Paul Conroy hasn’t done anything to stand out in years.

    Galway supporters know their team aren’t up to scratch at the moment and it will be many years until they get near us. Ya Kevin Walsh might give them some hope & organisation, but that’s about it. We have nothing to fear at all with them and we are actually in a better place with our minors winning the big one in 2013.

    If Galway had appointed jack o Connor, Pat Gilroy, Peter Canavan, Mick O Dwyer, Mickey Harte etc it wouldn’t make any difference. The talent was in mayo when James Horan took us over. It’s still there with Noel & Pat now, it’s not there for Kevin Walsh and that reality.

  33. PS Cillian has scored 5-36 in the 2014 championship. He was top scorer last year too and he has had an impact in every game. If he doesn’t get an all star the whole thing is a sham. Even though he kicked 0-8 in the AI final last year with a messed up shoulder he was still overlooked for an award. Michael Murphy kicked 0-6 this year and you can be sure he will be nailed on for an award. Double standards.

  34. Cait, you caused no offence. Patriot just seems to have an issue with my opinion on Galway and also me not being a Mayo supporter for real.

  35. I don’t see any reason why Donaghy and O’Connor can’t both be accommodated in the FF line. And why is Michael Murphy considered an automatic choice? He was decent this year, nothing more. Certainly not in O’Connor’s league when it came to direct impact on the scoreboard.

    I haven’t looked at that Independent team – and I don’t intend to – but I bet it has both Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connolly in the HF line. Both of whom went missing when the going got tough against Donegal. That’s what people should be giving out about.

    Mayo would have been far worthier finalists than Dublin, but when push comes to shove in naming end-of-year teams in national papers, the old attitude of ‘sure it’s only Mayo’ comes rapidly back to the fore.

  36. Independant team of the year holds no credibility in my book because of the gobshites like McGee and Brehony

  37. I’ve no issue with you at all cait and or anyone else’s opinion. Just back them up if your prepared to let them be known. It’s that simple.

  38. Ok WJ I just recall Sean burkes comments during the year on Moran and Dillon and I’ve not forgotten them. They are our players who give a lot to the cause and this talk of a rise in Galway football just annoys me because it’s simply not happening on & off the pitch. We mightn’t be in great financial health but they are in dire straits.

  39. Mayo in 2013 and 2014 just about beat Galway at minor level. In 2013 Mayo maybe shaded it as the better side. In 2014 Galway were the far superior side and comfortably ahead until Michael Daly got sent off for a second yellow.
    At senior level Galway in 2013 and 2014 have scored heavily on Mayo but operated with a leaky defence. Came within one point of Cork in 2013 and yet again conceded heavily while scoring heavily
    Beat a competitive Tipperary in 2014 while conceding heavily. Were knocked out while conceding heavily and scoring heavily against the All Ireland champions Kerry. In almost every championship game against competitive teams this Galway team has scored heavily while conceding heavily. But we are to believe only Shane Walsh can make the Mayo team and the Mayo county champions could beat them if fully fit. Castlebar or Ballintubber would get demolished. The pick of Castlebar n Ballintubber would hold their own for 40 minutes and then get demolished. Galway have the young players coming through to solve their defensive problems. When they do they have nothing to solve upfront.

  40. I think it is difficult and indeed dangerous to make definite calls about next year, let them be dismissals or claims to success. I remember people earlier this year saying Kerry were in transition and would not be contenders this year. This was especially to the fore when Cooper got injured.Guess who I saw picking up the Sam Maguire a few weeks back. The talk was all Dublin and they did not even play in the AI.

    I am not making any claims for any county at this stage, just stating that I would be reluctant to dismiss teams out of hand and I am not referring to counties like Carlow or Waterford here.

    In terms of championship scoring achievements it may be worth remembering in the case of Michael Murphy that he does not get to play against the stiffling blanket defences of New York, London or indeed the other power houses that have existed in Connaught recently.

    I hope my humble opinions have been adequately backed up.

  41. Teams of the year don’t matter a rats arse in my opinion. Players don’t train and play just in the hope that Eugene McGee or Brehony might say something nice about them and pick them in “their” team of the year. That shite is just to fill up column inches as the football season is over. Maybe the All Stars are given more credence by the players, maybe not. I’m sure for our lads the only award they want is a Celtic Cross.
    Whether we like it or not, whether it is right or not, the outside opinion of Mayo will always be “sure it’s only Mayo”. That will not change until we actually close out this torture and win the cursed thing.

  42. …and right on cue, Pebblesmeller, is Tomás Ó Sé’s team of the year, with six Kerrymen, six Donegalmen, two Dubs… and one Mayo man (Keith).

    The justification for leaving out Boyle, O’Shea and Cillian? ‘These lads need to be getting into All-Ireland finals to win their gongs’. Funny how that didn’t stop him picking two Dubs, despite their pathetic capitulation in their semi-final.

    Something to keep in mind the next time Tomás is bullshitting us about his ‘soft spot for Mayo’.

  43. Being honest we as Galway football supporters have to be realistic. Kevin is the best local guy for the job but if we are not to wear rose tinted glasses like most GAA fans in Ireland Galway is not as attractive a post as it once was. I will support Galway as always and definitely we are getting better albeit slowly. Where we have fallen behind to some degree has being tactical and conditioning. Raw talent we have. One thing i will always dispute though is this notion that Galway have huge resources. Completely untrue. Our football playing population is lower than Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Mayo, Donegal etc due to half the county being hurling only. Also Galway City is a bit hit and miss GAA wise partly to do with significant migration into the area and Connemara while largely football is very disperse population and sport wise. The old Galway football board developed the football centre of excellence in Loughgeorge doing a great job on limited resources. The old hurling board did same in Athenry except they never turned a piece of sod. Bottom line is that the boards amalgamated into one board with a huge debt on the crazy Athenry acquisition. Hence there won’t be many resources flying around for a while. Some counties went bananas paying big bucks on backrooms teams over the years and now have massive debts with little to show for. Kildare springs to mind. Ours is an infrastructural issue. Anyways with the Rossies improving also and presuming Mayo can maintain their form of recent years i would expect more teams from the province in the q/fs and s/fs of the championship from 2015 onwards.

  44. all stars
    paul durkin
    fionn fitzgerald
    neil mcgee
    keith higgins
    paul murphy
    possibly colm boyle
    james mcarthy
    david moran
    neil gallagher
    d connolly
    m murphy
    p flynn
    c o connor
    k donaghy
    james o donoghue

    put your money on this team 🙂

  45. Great appointment for Galway – I remember that period just after half time in this years Connaught Final – Galway hit the crossbar when only 4 points down, a few inches lower and we were facing a tough second half. Galway showed some potential and no shortage of skill, although let down by a few and lacking direction from the sideline.
    That game proved to me that we were not going to win an All Ireland. Why. Because we had no strategy in place for our full forward line AGAIN! and to be honest the Galway lads were a lot more fluid in the execution of their skills, especially when it came to accurate, incisive, kick passing. How many times have we made a meal of a ten yard side line pass!
    Walsh is inheriting a young inexperienced team with loads of potential and an abundance of natural skill, they just need a bit of bite. Reminds me of a Mayo team in 1996.
    Robert Fisk says in his great book “The Great War for Civilisation”: that the Worlds leaders should carry history books with them when they invade foreign country’s. Like-wise we in Mayo should look back at where we were in 1997 after 2 All-Ireland losses and a GENERATION later after the same result: Highly motivated, professional players, but no creative strategy. Creative (MAD MEN) being the most difficult of all the elements of team sports to coach has not been addressed again, and we are as far away as ever from where we want to be unless the new management team addresses it. That said I believe we have the players to do it. O’Connor is the best full forward in the Country (O’Donnaghue is second) and will face tough competition for MOTM from now on because his brothers are getting older!
    My regret from this last Mayo chapter is that I would have loved to have seen Horan and Buckley have those deep conversations that Fitzmaurice and O’Neill were obviously having as they MANAGED their team to the All-Ireland this year. I believe Pat and Noel will have those conversations; however bungled their appointment was they are a good combination, Mayo for SAM 2016 I say.

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