Shane Walsh not worried about Galway’s Croke Park streak

County haven’t won there since 2001 but have eye on Allianz League Division Two title

Shane Walsh will be in Croke Park with Galway on Sunday, as the county tries after 10 fruitless visits (one draw and nine defeats) since they won the 2001 All-Ireland, to win a match at the headquarters venue.

Walsh himself hasn’t managed to do so either, not even at under-age but he is a little mystified to be asked would a victory in the weekend’s Division Two football final against Kildare be actually less important than retiring the unfortunate sequence on Jones’s Road.

“To be honest, I don’t think so. We haven’t looked at all about winning a game in Croke Park. That’s there for the history books. We’re looking at it on Sunday that there’s a trophy for grabs – doesn’t matter if it’s in Carrick-on-Shannon or if it’s in Croke Park or wherever; we just want to get our hands on the trophy. Everyone just wants to win the game, doesn’t matter where it’s on. If the game comes in Croke Park, we’re going to try to win it as well.”

YouTube moment

Having been an under-age phenomenon, winning an under-21 All-Ireland four years ago, Walsh graduated to the seniors and in 2014 provided a YouTube moment in a qualifier against Tipperary by killing a dropping ball from Paul Conroy on his right instep and transferring it to his left foot for an equalising point.


Tipp had their revenge last summer when spoiling Galway’s first Connacht title in eight years by dumping them out in the All-Ireland quarter-finals to extend the Westerners’ miserable record.

He believes the losing sequence is over-played.

“Definitely. As a team anyway we don’t take any heed of it anyway. A team could beat us down in Pearse Stadium or they could beat us in Croke Park but people make more of a thing of it when it’s in Croke Park.”

Divisional titles may be a footnote in the history of individual years but the fact of promotion is significant for a county that has been out of the top flight for six years. Walsh is happy with the Galway’s campaign this season, which finally got them out of Division Two.

“I think we’ve shown that in places over the last two years we can be competitive but there has been one or two games where we haven’t done as well. Looking back over this league, it’s a great position to be in knowing that we lost one game, by a point, drew a game, and won the rest. I think it reflects on a very positive league campaign and it reflects on the group, the hard work we’ve put in, that it’s come to reward.”


Manager Kevin Walsh has had a happier time of it this year after lamenting 12 months ago that there were 50 players who had turned down an invitation to get involved with the county seniors. Back into the panel have come two retired footballers, the gifted Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong. Meehan is trying to overcome the injury issues that ended his intercounty career and according to his fellow panellist he's making encouraging strides.

“To be honest, there’s no limits to what he can do,” according to Shane Walsh. “At club football, he’s been ripping it up so there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t do it. The man is blessed with so much ability that it would be a sin for him nearly not to try. In fairness to him he’s giving it a crack. I have no doubt about it that if Mikey gets the good training under him he’ll be back in.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times