Walsh says influx of victorious U-20 players huge boost to Galway

May 12, 2021

Galway's Shane Walsh. ©INPHO/Brian Reilly-Troy.

by John Fallon

Galway captain Shane Walsh says that players coming off the victorious All-Ireland U-20 team will be a huge addition to the Tribesmen heading into the new season.

Five members of the side who defeated Dublin in the final last December — Jack Glynn, Paul Kelly, Cathal Sweeney, Mattie Tierney and Tomo Culhane — are now in the senior squad with Jack Kirrane, Cian Monahan, Sean Fitzgerald and Patrick Kelly included in a ‘feeder squad’ which Paraic Joyce and his selectors will be dipping into during the season.

“They have taken to it like a duck to water,” said Walsh, who is heading into his second season as captain. “Paul Kelly and Mattie Tierney are into their second year and then the other lads coming off the U-20 win are coming in high on confidence so it is a huge boost to the group. They have that winning feeling amongst them and hopefully they will bring that and the skill level to the table.”

The Kilkerrin-Clonberne clubman said he can’t for the start of the league at the weekend when they will travel to play Kerry.

“We didn’t know since the start of the year when the season would kick-off but once the new dates were made for the league all the focus for us has been getting ready for Kerry and we will worry about the other games after that.

“With the shortened league and no challenge matches everyone really is at the deep end from the start and a trip to Kerry leaves no room for holding back or hanging about. It will be the same for Kerry, they’ll want to hit the ground running.

“All teams can’t wait to get back out there. We have been training on our own for months and then collectively for the past few weeks so hopefully a nice sunny afternoon in Tralee on Saturday and we can all go at it. Everyone training individually, it can be a lonely place to be but lads put their best foot forward and in fairness to our strength conditioning coaches Cian Breathnach and Mike Comer, they did trojan work linking in with us week in, week out.”

Walsh said that teams will find out a lot about themselves on Saturday and will need to react quickly in the coming weeks with just a handful of league games before heading into the championship.

“It’s hard to gauge where anyone is going to be at going into Saturday. We haven’t had ideal preparations with regard to no challenge games. That timeframe was out of our hands but we have been training hard and lads have been putting their hands up and just delighted to be back and looking forward to going down to Tralee and having a right good go of it,” added Walsh.

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