Damien Comer outlined how the Galway footballers drew a positive reaction from a negative charge, utilising disparaging remarks from sections of the media about their championship credentials to nurture a resolve to prove them wrong.
"We probably inherited a lot of it, based on previous performances. Everyone wrote us off. Even on The Sunday Game they said, 'obviously it's going to be a Roscommon and Mayo Connacht final'. It made us want it even more." The 22-year-old forward spoke about how Galway manager Kevin Walsh sat the panel down at the start of the season, explaining that the primary focus was the championship match against Mayo in Castlebar and that he would accept whatever happened in the league.
Reward The Tribesman toppled Mayo and, subsequently, claimed a first county title since 2008 after a final replay victory over Roscommon. The reward is a trip to Croke Park on Sunday where they face Tipperary.
It is 15 years since the footballers last togged out in a championship match there. Speaking at the launch of EirGrid as the GAA’s first official timing sponsor, Comer spoke about the confidence gleaned from those victories but wasn’t keen to make any bold statements about what lay ahead, even suggesting that the best of this Galway team might not be seen for another year or two.
“Every Galway team always has belief but, when you’re not getting the results, it’s kind of hard to keep that belief. This year we’ve got the results so we have the belief, but we know we have a lot of work to do so that’s probably the difference.
“Wherever we get to, we get to, there’s so much more in this team. It might not happen this year, it might not happen next year; it could take two or three years to really develop because there are 19/20 year olds on the panel that are only really learning the system that Kevin has brought in.
“It takes a year or two to get used to it so lads are kind of buying into the process, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re looking forward to every battle and we won’t fear anyone, but we have a lot of work to do.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. Tipperary are a fine side, they’re going to bring everything so we’ve got to keep the heads down for the week and work hard and hope it’s enough to get us over the line. We’re building. We’re not the finished article yet. We’ve got a lot to work on... but definitely we’d be hoping to overcome that on Sunday.”
Comer played against Tipperary in an All Ireland qualifier two years ago in his first season with the Galway seniors. "It was a wide open game. I think there was eight goals in it. As I said, they're a good side," he said.
“We’re favourites but they’ve done a lot of things that people haven’t expected of them this year.”
They’ve both beaten Division One sides, Tipperary accounting for Cork, and Galway scalping Mayo and Roscommon.
played with Tipperary's Robbie Kiely at NUIG and also in America, came across Mike Quinlivan in Boston and was marked by Ciarán McDonald in an International Rules trial last season. He has two black cards to his name this season and knows another could see him miss a potential All Ireland semi-final. It won't curb his enthusiasm the same way it hasn't curbed Galway's.