Tierney still dreaming of Sam Maguire despite Armagh loss

Matthew Tierney on the attack against Armagh
Matthew Tierney on the attack against Armagh Matthew Tierney on the attack against Armagh

MATTHEW Tierney has just finished university and, as students tend to do, he had a lie-in on Monday morning. After a hammer-and-tongs clash with Armagh the previous day, he’d have been more than a little groggy but when he eventually woke up the news of the draw for this weekend’s preliminary All-Ireland quarter-finals quickly shook the sleep off him.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire: Galway got auld enemy Mayo at Pearse Stadium…

“Yeah, I just woke up and... Galway v Mayo,” he said.

“It’s Sunday, so all guns for that. We have to go out next Sunday and bring our best, bring our A-game, it’s do-or-die now.”

Mayo and Galway drew in the opening round of Division One but Kevin McStay’s men won by three points when the western neighbours met in the League final.

“Mayo are a top side,” said Tierney.

“They had us in the League final so we know all about them and what they can do. They’re a very good pressing side and they’ve strong men everywhere so we’ll have to have our wits about it.”

Mayo beat Kerry in Killarney by five points (and it could have been more) and then saw off Louth but an unexpected loss to Cork last weekend meant they missed out on the automatic quarter-final place.

“It’s both teams in the same boat,” said Tierney.

“We’ve both had a slip-up. We put ourselves in this situation so it’s about us getting ourselves right and bringing the best we can. It’s in our own hands this weekend so it’s up to ourselves and if we get ourselves right, that’s the main thing.”

Like Mayo, Galway went into last Sunday’s final group game with two wins out of two looking primed for top spot. But Armagh’s win in Carrick-on-Shannon threw the cat amongst the pigeons and it was the Orchardmen who topped the group and went straight through to the last eight.

“It was disappointing,” said Tierney who scored two fine points against the Orchard county.

“It was in our own hands. Every game is in your own hands. We put ourselves in this situation and we have to deal with this as best we can.

“We’ll try our best to learn from it anyway, that’s for sure. It is a quick turnaround and we just have to get the bodies right now and get the heads right.”

Manager Pauric Joyce was obviously disappointed after the loss to Armagh. A draw would have been good enough for Galway but Armagh edged ahead with a Rory Grugan free and, after Shane Walsh had sent the Tribesmen’s last chance high and wide, Tuam native Joyce spoke frankly to his players.

“He does say it as it is,” said Tierney.

“We just knew that that game, as with every game, was in our own hands if we got ourselves right. We didn't last Sunday and it's all about this Sunday now. He'll say it out now, we'll all say it out and get things out in the clear and open and work on things and learn it and be ready.”

Galway are expected to be minus experienced trio Dylan McHugh, Sean Kelly and Damian Comer for Sunday’s Connacht derby. McHugh and Comer both missed out against Armagh while Kelly limped off with an ankle injury.

“Hopefully they’re fine because they’re three top footballers,” said Tierney.

“They’re great players but that’s what the squad is for. If they’re not available you need the likes of the boys to come in and do the job same as if not better and take their chance. We need everyone now if we’re going to go the distance.”