Henry Shefflin says he has learned a lot from his first year in senior inter-county management and is hopeful that his Galway team can now push on in 2023.
But the Kilkenny native knows they will need to be more consistent if they are to progress and secure silverware.
Galway’s 2022 championship run ended with a 0-27 to 1-21 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Limerick and Shefflin said there is still work to be done if they are to close the gap on the three-in-a-row champions.
“As I reflect on the year, I think we did okay. We showed flashes in some games that was very good, but probably didn’t put in consistent performances.
“If you look at that Limerick performance. We started poor, did well for a while, finished poor. I think to be at that level you have to be constantly playing well.
“Limerick weren’t at their best that day. Cian Lynch and Peter Casey didn’t start, and I think we are a bit off that level and that is the challenge facing us,” said the 10-time All-Ireland winner.
There are no changes to his management team for 2023, no major withdrawals or retirements from the panel, and Shefflin is hopeful that the lessons learned in his first season at this level will help them next year.
“The intensity of the season was one of the biggest learnings. It was my first time experiencing inter-county management, the split season as well, and once it starts it rolls pretty quickly until it’s over.
“So, the opportunity to do a lot of work in between games is not there. But I’ve been up in Galway and seen a lot more club games this year and that has been beneficial as well. We are all a year further on. The management team and I are more comfortable and hopefully the group are more comfortable.
“We have learned a lot from that first year and the job now is to push on and improve.
We make no apologies for the spend. It all goes to the players— Galway GAA chairman Paul Bellew
“We haven’t gone back training yet because the club championship went on for so long. I felt it was more important the lads switched off a bit and got a bit of a break, so we are not going back until into December.
“But then we have Walsh Cup at the start of January and then we are off and running again. I’m looking forward to it.
“We have had a few trials and we have seen a lot of club games and seen the Under-20s come through, so we are just finalising a panel. We will extend the panel and have maybe 15 new faces on board and see how we fare out in the Walsh Cup.
“It’s open-ended at this time of year, we have no retirements per se, but we might have a few stepping in or out of the panel given their circumstances, but we are just finalising that at the moment,” added Shefflin.
Shefflin was speaking at the launch of Supermac’s renewal of their sponsorship of Galway GAA, a deal that will be worth at least €2.25m over the next five years and which could increase by a million with bonuses.
Galway last week announced a spend of €2,161,497 on their teams in 2022 – the first county to surpass the €2m mark on their teams – and chairman Paul Bellew said the extension of the Supermac’s deal was a boost.
He said they were transparent in their financial affairs and would make no apologies for spending that amount on their teams at senior, Under-20 and minor level in both codes.
“We played 49 games last year between the six teams. We won the minor football, we got to the All-Ireland football final. Our three hurling teams lost to the eventual All-Ireland champions by a combined total of six points.
“There are not too many counties that can say that. We make no apologies for the spend. It all goes to the players. A lot of it is mandated in terms of gear and expenses,” said Bellew.