Three key factors in Galway’s defeat to Kerry

Galway were not prepared to adopt negative tactics

We have been down this road against Kerry before in Galway.

The shoot-out in the OK Corral scenario -” You guys go and see how much ye can score and we’ll do the same on our side.”

The only problem is that you should not take Kerry on in such a game of chance.

They habitually win. The only times Kerry have been beaten in big games in Croke Park recently are 2002, 2003, and 2005 by Armagh and Tyrone twice. And we all know how the Northern teams played those games.

Galway went with an orthodox 15 on 15, and with the scoring power of Declan O’Sullivan, Colm Cooper, Bryan Sheehan, Tommy Walsh, and company being fed by a rampant half-back line, there was only ever going to be one winner.

You cannot concede 1-21 (1-15 from play ) in Gaelic football and expect to win.

Liam Sammon and Galway to their credit went out to play football and it was a great spectacle. Neutrals loved it.

Former Meath manager Seán Boylan, who led his county to four All-Ireland titles, described the fare served up by two classy teams as the “best game of football” he had seen in two or three years.

However once an open and expansive game of football went into that baking tin, there was only ever going to be one cake baked - and the icing on it would be green and gold.

The last time Galway played Kerry in an All Ireland quarter-final in 2002 the same thing happened and Kerry won 2-17 to 1-12.

When a team is better than yours, a manager has to come up with a plan to try to disrupt them.

Liam Sammon - and perhaps he was 100 per cent correct in his evaluation - did not want to compromise his principles on how he wants his team to play.

He did not want to go down a negative road - an extra defender behind the centre-back or two wing-forwards behind the midfield, and maybe if they did that, Galway would have been beaten either way. But by not trying something different the result was never in real doubt.

Over dependence on Michael Meehan for scores

The Caltra man was absolutely terrific. It was a magnificent individual display and one that made everyone in Galway sit up, applaud, and feel proud.

He shot 10 points and gave a succession of Kerry markers a torrid time. However he needed much more support in the scoring department and he did not get it.

Only Joe Bergin on his introduction really threatened the Kerry rearguard, as evidenced by his 1-1 from play before Daniel Bohane came off the bench to nullify his threat.

Unfortunately on the day too many of the other Galway attackers ,including Cormac Bane, Fiachra Breathnach, Matthew Clancy, and Paul Conroy, did not really offer a consistent scoring threat.

Even team captain Padraig Joyce, who had been immense in the Connacht campaign, found it impossible to shake off the attentions of Aiden O’Mahony, and despite some fine passes to the inside he was not able to exert the influence he would have wished for.

Had Meehan got a more regular supply in the last quarter, he may have added substantially to his personal tally, but with the Kerry half-back line mopping up so many breaks, Meehan was reduced to surviving on crumbs.

Final-quarter fade out

With 51 minutes on the clock Galway led by 1-13 to 1-11.

Nine minutes later Kerry had scored 0-6 on the bounce and Galway were in danger of being mauled.

Kerry out-scored Galway 0-10 to 0-3 in the last 20 minutes and won the game in cruise control.

When the chips were down, Kerry just geared up and left Galway in their wake. Colm Cooper, Declan O’ Sullivan, and Kerry subs Eoin Brosnan and Darren O’ Sullivan, powered them home.

The Galway management team can with some justification say that the loss of Seán Armstrong, Declan Meehan, Nicky Joyce, and Damien Dunleavy through injury, weakened its hand considerably and left Galway short of forward replacements in particular as proved by his re-introduction of Matthew Clancy.

That said, when the after-burners had to come on, it was Kerry who provided the turbo boost and they left Galway dead and buried in the home stretch.

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