Johnny Duane not expecting anything easy in Carrick on Shannon

Inter-county seasons at senior level have a habit of flying by. Especially when you do not have too many wins.

It is difficult to think that St James' clubman Johnny Duane made his senior intercounty debut four years ago against Mayo.

Duane had been a real success at centre-back in the All-Ireland U-21 win that spring when Galway beat Cavan easily in the final, and he was at left corner back when Galway went down 1-12 to 1-6 to Mayo in the Connacht semi-final in late June. His clubmate Paul Conroy scored Galway's only goal.

That Galway team was bounced out of the qualifiers in round two by Meath, by a single point (0-11 to 0-10 ) in Navan a few weeks later.

Duane managed to raise a white flag in that tie from corner back, but after two championship starts and two defeats, Duane's first season at senior level was over. Short, but not so sweet. 

Over the past three years  there has been very limited success, which is why he and his teammates are taking nothing for granted this Sunday.

The maxim is very much - one game at a time, and respect for the opposition.

"As a panel we are really enjoying the year. Training is going very well and Kevin [Walsh], Brian [Silke] and Seán [Conlon] and the rest of the management team are really positive and working very hard to have us in the best shape we can be to have a good run in the championship. I had a back operation in the early part of the season and had to miss the FBD and the early games of the NFL - so I am really delighted to be back in reasonable shape, getting regular game time and we are all looking forward to taking on Leitrim in three days.

"It is Leitrim's first game of the championship and no doubt they have been focussing on this match from a long way out, so they will be well prepared and very organised to try to stop our forwards getting going. We have a lot of respect for Leitrim and they beat Galway at u-21 level down there last year, so we are not taking anything for granted. In fact we are expecting a real battle on Sunday (3.30pm ) and Shane Ward [Leitrim's manager] will have left no stone unturned to try to have his lads flying for this game, whereas we had to focus on New York until two weeks ago."

On a personal level, Duane, who has a degree in business (major in marketing ) from GMIT, has recently started a job with Bank of Ireland working in Galway city and he is enjoying the role.

"It is a new opportunity, something I am really enjoying and it ties in well with my degree from college - so it is all good at the moment. It is great to be based locally from a training and work perspective and the less travelling a player has to do before training the better, so I am delighted to have a job here in the city."

Galway are 1/16 to win on Sunday, with the home side at 8/1, and the handicap is Leitrim +8, with Galway at minus eight.

However, Duane is not interested in any of that information and he sticks to his mantra.

"We have a job to do this weekend and we will be going to Carrick to try to get that job completed. The winners on Sunday will face Mayo in the Connacht semi-final and that will represent a massive challenge for either Leitrim or ourselves.

"We are taking things one step at a time and the only thing we are concerned with at the moment, is to produce a very good performance this weekend to build on our victory over New York. Winning is a habit and it is one we need to get more practice at in championship football."


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