By John Fallon
Galway football captain Shane Walsh is in a race to be fit for the championship after picking up two injuries on club duty.
The 27-year old is currently in an orthopaedic boot and looks set to miss Sunday’s Allianz League showdown against Mayo at Tuam Stadium.
But manager Padraic Joyce is hopeful that Walsh, who has revelled in his role since being handed the captaincy this season, will recover from knee and ankle injuries as he prepares for his first championship in charge.
The Tribesmen will open their Connacht championship campaign in a semi-final meeting with Sligo on November 7. They play Mayo in the league on Sunday and Dublin the following week, with victory in those games guaranteeing the title.
“Shane has a couple of injuries that he is dealing with at the moment, an issue with a knee and one of his ankles. He has a great year with the club, got them to the intermediate final and, Shane being Shane, he is going to draw attention on match days, which he did, and he got a few knocks so he hasn’t trained with us in the last two weeks.
“He is in an orthopaedic boot so he is doubtful for Sunday and we will need to see how it goes with him.”
Walsh was in devastating form before lockdown, shooting 2-29 in five games to push Galway to the top of the table with four wins. He continued that form when club action resumed and one of his best displays came when he shot 1-11 for Kilkerrin-Clonberne against Joyce’s native club Killererin.
“He’s a great lad, he was in great form for us earlier in the year. He is one of the hardest trainers we have and he took on the responsibility as captain really well. As a manager I couldn’t be more happy with him. Hopefully he will be back before long,
“He will be a loss if he is out, but at the same time it has opened the door for someone else to come along. We have a strong panel and we want to give lads a chance. If we have to go without one of our star players we need to find out how we can cope. It will be a test for us.”
Another player instrumental in Galway’s excellent start to the league is also battling to get back from injury but Joyce is hopeful that Corofin midfielder Ronan Steede is not far away.
“He picked up an ankle injury against Mountbellew so we have only seen him once since we came back training. He is a loss to us as a midfielder, we are struggling around that area of the pitch. He was going well early in the year. He’s definitely out for Sunday but hopefully will be back before too long,” added Joyce.
Meanwhile, Joyce said that while Jim McGuinness’ training session with them on Sunday was one-off, he has not ruled out further involvement with his former IT Tralee Sigerson Cup winning teammate.
“I’m always looking to do what I can for the players. My job as Galway manager is to make sure that my players are the best prepared that I possibly can give them. I just felt at this time that we needed some bit of a surge or something. He is a qualified professional performance coach.”
Joyce is going to wait for feedback from the session but forward Rob Finnerty was full of praise for the move to bring in the Donegal man.
“It was a great experience. We all know what Jim McGuinness has done in football with Donegal and everything, so it’s a great opportunity to do a session with him and see what he’s about. It was enjoyable,” said the Salthill/Knocknacarra clubman.Tweet