Donnellan calls for fans' expectations to be kept in checkJune 21, 2012 - 7:00am
No matter who Galway face in the Leinster Senior Hurling Final – be it Dublin or All-Ireland champions Kilkenny – Galway forward Cyril Donnellan insists expectation must be tempered following the Tribesmen’s facile 14-point win over Offaly at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise last Sunday.
Three goals in the opening nine minutes from St Thomas’ duo Conor Cooney (2) and David Burke lay the foundation for the Tribesmen’s 5-23 to 3-15 victory, which sets Galway up for their second Leinster final appearance in four years on Sunday, July 8.
However, despite the impressive manner of Galway’s win against Offaly, Donnellan is calling for everyone associated with the maroon and white to firmly keep their feet on the ground.
“We have to be realistic,” said Donnellan, as he chatted to the media after the final whistle on Sunday.
“The other side of the draw was definitely stronger with Kilkenny and Dublin in it. And that is taking nothing away from Offaly. We knew coming up here today that it was going to be a big test and, in fairness, we met it front on.
“However, I think, we are going to find it very tough in a Leinster final, whoever we are playing. Both of those two teams played in an All-Ireland semi-final last year and that is where we want to be getting. Of course, the easiest route into an All-Ireland semi-final is to win Leinster and that is what we will be trying to do.”
Indeed, whatever about All-Ireland quarter-finals or semi-finals, Donnellan vows Galway will give the provincial decider the respect it deserves.
“Sure, it’s massive. Nobody from Galway has a Leinster medal and it is a massive medal to chase.
“You know, the lads inside there [in the dressing-room] feel the importance of it and it was a great move by Galway to come into Leinster. A Leinster medal would be as important to anybody in that dressing-room as anything else they have won. We will be going into the Leinster final with the hope of competing and winning.”
In any event, Donnellan agrees that last Sunday’s win is a case of job done, although he recognises there are areas Galway still need to tighten up on.
“I suppose, it was high scoring enough and we would be happy enough with the performance in the first half. We might have died a bit before half-time, but it is hard enough to keep that intensity up.
“That said, we have three weeks now to work on the fitness heading into the Leinster final. We still have loads to work on, just like the Westmeath game when we also conceded a few goals and at times went out of the game. I suppose, Offaly didn’t really put a major push on us in the second half. I know they got a couple of goals but we were still keeping the scoreboard ticking over down the opposite end.
“So, we are very happy. We said at the outset we wanted to get to a Leinster final. It is the easiest way of getting into the All-Ireland series and that is where we are now and we have three weeks to work on what we need to work on,” concludes Donnellan.
Meanwhile, Galway captain Fergal Moore believes his side can get better and better as the championship progresses. No doubt, having tallied 11 goals in their first two provincial games, they do seem to be heading in the right direction.
“Obviously, goals make a huge difference in the championship and we have been focusing on taking those opportunities,” says Moore on Galway’s six goal tally against Westmeath and their five-goal haul against Offaly.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.