Micheál Donoghue says Galway fully focused on Dublin test

Manager brushes off some local criticism of ‘celebrations’ after league final win over Tipp

Micheál Donoghue: “We’re under no illusion that it’s still going to be a step up for the championship.”  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Micheál Donoghue: “We’re under no illusion that it’s still going to be a step up for the championship.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

While most county managers are quite likely trying to raise expectations going into the championship, Micheál Donoghue has found himself in the slightly unusual position of trying to keep those expectations in check.

Going into the Allianz Hurling League final against Tipperary last month, not many people were talking about Galway as leading contenders for the All-Ireland. But ever since that victory, 3-21 to 0-14, Galway are being mentioned in the same breath as Tipperary, and for Donoghue, that presents a fresh challenge in its own right.

“Look, whenever you win any competition you’re going to get some confidence out of it,” he says.

“We’re under no illusion that it’s still going to be a step up for the championship. As soon as the match was over it was just chapter closed on the league and realising that it is a step up again for the championship. Our focus the last couple of weeks was just preparing for that and we’ll continue to do that over the next number of weeks.”

First up are Dublin in Tullamore on Sunday, May 28th – now just under three weeks away: “It is a short turnaround, yeah, but the whole objective of the league was to get to the latter stages and to get as many competitive games under our belt as we could in preparation for the championship.

“When you get to that stage it doesn’t be long coming around.”

There was, strangely, some criticism within the Galway media for the way the team celebrated that convincing win over the All-Ireland champions. Donoghue, naturally, was a little baffled by it all.

Young lads

“When you read something in the paper, unless you read it, you think you’re misinformed. If you don’t read it, you’re uninformed.

“So look, we came back to Gort, we went to St Thomas’s which was the club of our captain, we went back there for half an hour where there was a lot of young lads. If people want to criticise us for doing that, that’s fair enough. We’re in this game to try to promote it as much as we can and we were happy to do that with the St Thomas’ club.

“It was, as I said, something that we came back to meet after the game and it was for half an hour and look, our preparations started again the following night so it had no bearing on anything at all.

“We’re under three weeks out now, we’ve had a round of club games last weekend and now we’re just looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile Tipperary have confirmed they will appeal against Jason Forde’s one-match suspension, which currently rules the Silvermines player out of the Munster SHC quarter-final against Cork on Sunday week.

Forde had a proposed two-match ban handed down for his League semi-final clash with Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald reduced to one game by the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee (CHC)

But Tipp will bring their case to the next level, the Central Appeals Committee (CAC) as they look to have the versatile former minor and U21 captain freed to play. Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher also remains an injury concern ahead of that Cork game

Maher recently rejoined the panel after a six-month stint on Army peacekeeping duty in Syria but pulled up with a hamstring injury in the 36th minute of his club Lorrha-Dorrha’s first round north championship defeat against Templederry Kenyons on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Meath’s Cormac Reilly has been added back to the intercounty football championship refereeing list in 2017; he was omitted from last year’s panel, and required a Garda escort after the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final replay between Kerry and Mayo in Limerick.

The football referees’ panel has been expanded to 20 men this year, with Niall Cullen from Fermanagh and Mayo’s Jerome Henry also added for the for the first time, as Eddie Kinsella from Laois has retired.

In hurling, Cork’s Cathal McAllister is also added back after missing out last year, while Colum Canning from Antrim has been called up for championship duty for the first time. The hurling referees’ panel has also been increased from 12 to 14. 

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