Micheál Donoghue says Galway have earned their downtime

After league, Leinster and All-Ireland wins, Galway manager doesn’t mind losing in Boston

Micheál Donoghue celebrates as Galway beat Waterford in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final at  Croke Park in September. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Micheál Donoghue celebrates as Galway beat Waterford in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final at Croke Park in September. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

The last thing Micheál Donoghue seemed bothered about was losing out on a clean sweep of trophies. Having won the league, Leinster and All-Ireland title with Galway, getting beaten by Clare in Sunday’s AIG Fenway Classic was perhaps a sign his players have already switched off a little, which is not a bad thing. 

“There has to be an appreciation that it’s a long year and they have to recharge as well,” said the Galway manager. “I think the games were quite competitive, and bear in mind this is all in our downtime as well. In fairness, they were nearly glad to be back doing a small bit and meeting up.   

“But I think the weekend was a great success overall, and again the players deserve a few weeks’ break.” 

That break will continue for a while yet: several of the Galway hurlers will travel on next month’s All Star tour to Singapore, and then there’s the team holiday to New York and Cancun after Christmas. That leaves a lot of players off duty for quite a while yet. 

“Yeah, and it’s about managing some of that time,” added Donogue. “But we’re dealing with good lads, their heads are screwed on. 

“A lot of them are probably back in the gym, they’re creatures of habit, they know they have to be continuously doing a bit. From the management perspective we’re happy with we’re they’re at.” 

Commuted

Another positive aspect of the weekend trip to Boston was that Donoghue got to sit down with Johnny Glynn, who featured in Sunday’s game. Glynn is still working in New York, and made the short trip north this weekend. He effectively commuted from the US to Galway for last year’s championship, and Donoghue is hopeful a similar arrangement can be made for 2018. 

“We had a chat about it over the weekend. He’s in a predicament in that he’s in a good situation with work, his employers are good to him, he’s in a good position.

No matter where you bring the cup, the reception from young and old, it’s really satisfying

“We would [hope to have him], we’ve had some discussions and I’m sure we’ll have a firmer chat over Christmas. But for now it’s a matter of letting things run the way they are and we’re not putting any pressure on him. It’s only been a couple of weeks.” 

Donoghue has looked back on September’s final win over Waterford, still sinking in, although the impact it’s had on Galway continues to amaze him. 

“We’ve said it many times that none of us looked beyond the game, or at what it’d be like if we won. It’s probably exceeded all our expectations of what it’d be like, the euphoria for the whole county. 

Planning

“No matter where you bring the cup, the reception from young and old, it’s really satisfying. It’s only now it’s beginning to settle and you can appreciate we have done it. It’s November now and you’re already thinking a bit about planning for next year, so time isn’t long moving on and getting ready for next year.” 

Donoghue was also asked about Dublin’s new manager Pat Gilroy bringing in team coach Anthony Cunningham, who preceded Donoghue as Galway manager.  

“Both of their records speak for themselves, it’s a massive opportunity for Dublin hurling to get someone of the calibre of Pat back involved, he’s an astute person and I think he’ll bring a lot to this Dublin team. 

“And Anthony’s experience is a good fit for them. We’re looking forward to playing them, we’ll face them in the league and the championship as well, we’ll renew acquaintances.”

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