O' Donnell focusing on team consistency for a win on Sunday

‘We need to really battle for the entire game and cut out the lulls.” - Galway captain Gary O’Donnell

‘We need to really battle for the entire game and cut out the lulls.” - Galway captain Gary O’Donnell

Galway football captain Gary O'Donnell has been down the Connacht final road before and he knows the victors next Sunday will be the team that produces a consistent and solid team performance.

Showing up and doing the business on the big days in the big stadiums is what the top teams do, and that is what Galway must do in three days' time in Salthill.

The Tuam Stars player, along with Paul Conroy, Gary Sice, Gareth Bradshaw and Finian Hanley, all saw action in Galway's last provincial title success in 2008 and those guys are very keen to try to collect another Connacht senior medal and see the younger lads on the panel collect their first.

Glow from Mayo well gone

After a great win in MacHale Park, the gloss and warm glow from that win over Mayo is well faded at this juncture.

"We were delighted to get a win in Castlebar and it was badly needed," says O'Donnell. " It was really important for our team to beat Mayo. However, that it in the past now and the only thing on our radar is Roscommon on Sunday. The entire panel knows if we play consistently well and stay focused for the entire 70 plus minutes, we are a hard group to beat.

"All through the league this year and last season we have been about trying to be more consistent in our performances and being really competitive every day we go out. That is our goal and it is something we will continue to strive for regardless of Sunday's result. We are really keen to have a good summer of championship football, and obvious going directly to the quarter-final stage is what both teams will be looking for this weekend."

O' Donnell, who teaches at the Presentation College in Athenry, is a highly respected and popular member of the Galway panel and is in his second term as team captain. He does not make any silly statements or do drama on or off the field and what he says is totally logical. It is easy to see why he is the management's choice as captain.

"We were not a million miles away from going up to division one in the league and even in the Cavan game, we were not too far away from getting a result. Even in our three draws, at least we were battling all through, but to improve on those results we need to really battle for the entire game and cut out the lulls that can cost any team dearly.

"We only lost two games in the league and we learnt from those defeats. Against Mayo we stuck to our plan and every player worked their socks off for the entire duration and that is why we got the win."

O'Donnell says Galway will need to do the same on Sunday if they are to beat a good Roscommon team who advanced to the last four in division one.

"They have won three championship games in a row already this season and have some very talented players. Their forwards put up some really good scores in the league and they were flying in the second half against Sligo too, so we know they will be very difficult to beat.

"That said, we have worked really hard over the past few months and weeks, and our management and backroom team has been really top class in trying to get us playing the best football we can and improving a little every day we go out."

Tight bond

O'Donnell is hoping team spirit makes a difference.

"Both teams will be going full out to get a win this weekend and there is unlikely to be much between the sides at the final whistle. Hopefully we will have good Galway support at Pearse Stadium and we can give them something to cheer about. There is a really good bond in our panel and we are a very tight group. And that can make a difference in close games. If we play to our capabilities, we know that we will be hard to beat.

"It is great to have the minors in a Connacht final too and it makes for a nice double-header for Galway supporters. We wish them all the best in their game with Mayo."

After an eight-year gap since their last provincial success, O'Donnell and the older players, Conroy, Bradshaw, Sice and Hanley, know they have to take these chances of medals because they do not come too often.



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