Galway’s Kevin Walsh knows there is room for improvement

Leitrim manager Shane Ward bemoans lack of clinical finishing

When the winning manager keeps his players in a silent dressing room for nearly an hour after the game then he’s presumably not writing them personal thank you notes.

Indeed when Kevin Walsh eventually emerged he was all straight-faced, not in the mood to hang around, either: Galway may have booked their place in the Connacht semi-final against Mayo, but every day between now and June 14th will be about filling up that large room for improvement.

“We’ll probably have to make more scoring chances,” said Walsh, when asked where Galway must most improve.

“And score when we have them, not to be putting them wide. But look, Leitrim is a tough place to get out of, and there’s a big energy about that Leitrim side. They made things difficult for us and they certainly covered their backs.

“It was very much like the New York game I suppose. The elements were against us in the first half and we were quite happy coming into half-time. But the one big concern really was we gave away three easy points before half-time when we could really have put the foot on the pedal.”

Seasoned opposition

Indeed Leitrim tested Galway on a few occasions in that first half and against more seasoned opposition such as Mayo they would definitely have struggled. Still, Walsh hardly blinked when informed Galway had conceded at least 40 frees: “I didn’t know. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’d have to sit back and assess that.”

For Leitrim manager Shane Ward there was also an acceptance of being second best: "It was a battling performance, and there's an air of disappointment, but at the same time, I was disappointed with our conversion rate in the first-half. We created a lot of chances but didn't convert them. And, in championship football, if you don't convert your chances, you are going to be second-best."

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics