Galway hurling manager Michéal Donoghue remains focusing solely on the upcoming provincial final despite the external chatter about Galway hurlers being warm favourites to claim a first All-Ireland title since 1988.
Teams that win national titles do so game by game, 70 minutes by 70 minutes - as Galway did in this year’s National League, and Donoghue, his management team, and squad are not looking one minute past 4pm next Sunday and their Leinster final clash with Wexford.
“Our goal up to now has been to get to the Leinster final. And we’re there now. From our own perspective it’s looking forward obviously for the next week to the Leinster final, and then see can we get into August.
“So talk of an All-Ireland? My view on it is, unless you’re in the All-Ireland final, you can’t do anything. There’s no point talking about it unless you’re in it. Our focus is on Wexford next Sunday and nothing else is on our agenda at this time.”
That said, Donoghue is pleased with the progress the panel is making and especially the new members of the squad who have added a lot to the group dynamic.
“The group we have is very experienced. We do have a lot of new lads in this year and they’ve given a huge impetus to the whole squad, energised it, and are pushing really hard. So it's a good group. We have good experience, a lot of them have been here before, and it’s just about pushing on now.”
The Davy Fitz factor
There has been a huge swell of support for the Wexford team in their own county and increased interest in Sunday’s clash at a national level. The flamboyant Davy Fitzgerald, in his first year as Wexford manager, is generating that interest.
“Whatever teams Davy has been with over the last number of years, he’s always got the best out of them,” says Donohhue.
“In that regard, we fully expected they would be challenging. There is a lot of good hurlers down in Wexford and they’ve gelled well. They were very impressive in their win the last day out. They’ve had two big wins over Kilkenny in a short space of time.
"That probably reaffirms the progression Wexford have made. They have had a great season, but I think that when they get to where they are now, they are not going to be content with just having a good season. They’re going to be there in the Leinster final to try to win it as well.
“It’s a huge challenge for us, and they’ve had a massive result in the last couple of weeks, so they’re in a really good place also.”
But he says: “It’s up for grabs, isn’t it?”