Kernan has much to ponder

Joe Kernan cannot have been pleased with the manner in which Galway finished their league campaign on Sunday- a disappointing defeat to Derry by 2-13 to 1-12.

Supporters had travelled into Pearse Stadium in good form and with high expectations of seeing a continuation of the good performances that had been served up in the victories over Dublin and Tyrone. That was not to be, and the side produced an inept and listless first-half display that saw them behind by eight points at half time.

Turning that deficit around was never going to be easy, and despite a spirited second half display, the damage inflicted in the first half could not be overcome.

Derry ran at the Galway defence early and when they did, they got in far too easily. The two early goals they got from Sean Leo McGoldrick and Declan Mullan were gift wrapped and not a hand was laid on the Derry attack as they waltzed into the red zone and Eoin O’ Conghaile was given no genuine protection between the sticks.

Improving from a defensive point of view is something that will be a key focus for Kernan and the Galway management over the coming weeks.

The team conceded 8-104 in their seven league games and the likes of Mayo or Sligo will hardly be beaten if they score the guts of 20 points, even with the return of Seán Armstrong, Michael Meehan and Padraig Joyce to the forward division.

The work-rate and energy levels required at the top level of inter-county football were absent in the first half last Sunday and that fact needs to be addressed.

The arrival of young Paul Conroy off the bench before half time helped to stop the rot and his long-distance points in the second half helped to narrow the margin.

Kernan will look for a big five or six weeks training between now and the Connacht semi-final to fine tune the team. The weekend in New York will also give the management team and panel time to plot and plan for the bigger tests that lie ahead.

The lack of consistency during the league will be a concern though and is something that no doubt will be addressed in the lull before real competitive action in the championship.

Still the weather is fantastic currently and hope springs eternal.

There are many Galway supporters who believe this team can win the 2010 Connacht title and set up a tilt at getting a badly-needed triumph in Croke Park.


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