Three key learnings from Tuam

1. Fiontán Ó Curraoin is crucial to the cause

At key stages in last Sunday's clash with Armagh, big Fiontán Ó Curraoin reached up and plucked booming kick-outs from the sky. It was fantastic to see, and gave a real boost to his teammates and to the Galway supporters.

Fiontán also won a critical catch under pressure in the full-back line when Galway were really under the cosh during the third quarter. It was a really awkward delivery into the danger area and, despite a few men, including some of his own going for the ball, he came out with the leather and lifted the siege.

The Micheál Breathnach's player was the All Ireland-winning u-21 captain last season, and he will hopefully continue to develop into a really top-class midfielder and leader on the team. If Galway are to do something in the championship, he needs to.

His partner Thomas Flynn also did a lot of good work and has a fair dash of pace when he gets into his stride. When you add Paul Conroy to the mix, Galway have height, power and a definite presence.

2. Galway must become more ruthless when they are on top

Galway did enough to win last Sunday, but it took a fantastic save from the young and impressive Tomas Healy with 10 minutes remaining to make sure they did not lose the two points.

Despite being in a good position at half time, 2-8 to 0-9, and Armagh down a man, Galway allowed Armagh to draw level going into the last seven or eight minutes.

At that juncture it was the visitors who looked the more likely victors and, while points from James Kavanagh and a great left-footed effort from team captain Paul Conroy steered the maroon ship into the winning port, it was a close call.

Next Sunday against Monaghan, and especially in the upcoming championship, Galway players need to be really ruthless when they have teams on the back foot.

When the team gains momentum, they need to be efficient and try to bury the opposition when they get the chance. That is what Dublin and Kerry do, and Kilkenny in hurling.

You cannot give the top teams a second chance and the Galway players need to practise pushing on, and being bloody-minded when they have their windows of dominance.

3. The North Board football supporters sure love Tuam Stadium

As we left Tuam Stadium last Sunday, about six different Galway football supporters mentioned to me how they felt that "Tuam is the home of Galway football".

How often have we heard that line? In fact one aficionado even went so far as to describe the stadium as "Fortress Tuam".

That is going a tad far, even if the recent wins over Down and Armagh have added some fuel to the perspective. And there can be no denying a fair few Galway football supporters from Milltown, Tuam, Ballygar, Dunmore, Killererin, Caherlistrane, Corofin and Mountbellew/Moylough are a lot happier and more comfortable heading into Tuam rather than Pearse Stadium.

The old stadium does have a lovely atmosphere and a real sense of history, but the facilities are not comparable to Pearse Stadium’s and that needs to be addressed.

Perhaps the director of the GAA, Padraig Duffy, could send down a few wheelbarrows of money from the new Sky TV deal to help upgrade Tuam Stadium.

For now, the debate on where the county football team should play their league games will rumble on, but unless there is some real investment in Tuam, it is impossible to see any big inter-county championship games being played there.

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