Damien Comer says Galway still craving consistency

Full-forward claims county showed Kerry too much respect in this year’s quarter-final

Damien Comer: “It’s time for us to put consistent performances together, that’s what we’re aiming for.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Galway forward Damien Comer believes that his team showed too much respect to Kerry in last season's All-Ireland quarter-final and is confident that a season in Division One will help them to develop the consistency necessary to make a sustained championship challenge.

Galway for the second year running defeated Mayo in the Connacht championship only for their season to fizzle out while their defeated opponents went on to reach the All-Ireland final.

Comer was in Croke Park for the launch of the 2018 Sigerson Cup draw, which pitted his NUI Galway side against IT Sligo in the first round. He was asked had the lack of top-level league football held back Galway in recent years.

“Possibly, but I think we showed Kerry a bit too much respect. We should have went at it a bit more. We got caught out a bit with an early goal, which set us back and then we had three or four goal chances. If we had sunk one or two of them, it could have been a different story as well. It seems to be when we get goals we are a different team.

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“If we can get consistency into our game, we will be a good side. We have turned over Mayo now the last two years and what we did against Donegal – any other team in the country would be happy with that. If we can do it one week there is nothing to say you can’t do it the next week. It is just about getting that out of us every time we put on a jersey and play, that’s the main focus going forward.”

That lack of consistency particularly bedevilled the team in last summer’s championship. Having started so impressively by defeating Mayo in the Connacht semi-final, they proceeded to squander home advantage in the final and lose their provincial crown to Roscommon.

In the very next match they were impressively convincing winners against Donegal but then disappointed when taking on Kerry in Croke Park.

Gained promotion

“It’s hard to watch,” he said of his team’s and Mayo’s divergent seasons.

“You are wondering what you are doing wrong. If you can take them in the first round you are wondering how come you can’t do it towards the end of the season. It’s something we’ve got to work on this year. It’s time for us to put consistent performances together that’s what we’re aiming for.”

The year though was positive for Galway in other respects. They gained promotion back to Division One for the first time in seven years and also in last April’s Division Two final against Kildare laid to rest the hoodoo of not having won a match in Croke Park since the 2001 All-Ireland final.

Comer is unimpressed by that factor, describing it as “hype” and pointing out that many of the Galway players had hardly played there.

“It would be different if you were playing there once a month and you are losing every single game. We get there once or twice a year and some lads, it was their first year playing in Croke Park; other lads it was only their second time.”

He remains positive about the prospect of playing Division One next season.

“We are a relatively young team – there are a few experienced heads but a lot of the fellas wouldn’t be used to playing Division One football. So hopefully it is that stepping stone that we need to bring us forward to championship and it will give us the confidence.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times