Football

Sorry Galway relying on a magician without a wand

While the eyes of the country were on a Watty Graham trio, perhaps it’s Shane Walsh they should be more concerned about

Shane Walsh kicked six points for Galway against Leitrim
Not to be: Shane Walsh couldn't inspire an uninspiring Galway to an opening round Division One win today in Salthill

The Irish News’ Cahair O’Kane has been keen to point out Glen’s rest period of almost three months after their All-Ireland final defeat in 2023.

While it’s remarkable that Ciaran McFaul, Ethan Doherty and Conor Glass appeared against Kerry, it was not impossible. In fact, amidst all sorts of criticism, it was commendable.

Over in the west, the public stayed largely asleep to a bigger issue. It is no news to anyone that Shane Walsh hasn’t come close to the levels of his 2022 All-Ireland final performance in a Galway shirt since that occasion.

Any Galway-Mayo clash has been a toss of a coin in recent years. Last year’s victory for Kevin McStay’s men started out as a fiery derby and finished up almost with sentiment of pity for a Galway team seeking inspiration from a clearly wounded Seán Kelly.

Today, it was again Mayo who were deserving of a comfortable victory. Walsh kicked just a point from play.

Bellaghy man Paul Cassidy (right) up against Galway captain Sean Kelly in the 2022 All-Ireland SFC semi-final. Picture Seamus Loughran
As láthair: Bellaghy man Paul Cassidy (right) up against Galway captain Sean Kelly in the 2022 All-Ireland SFC semi-final. Picture Seamus Loughran

Sure, the conditions weren’t exactly designed to whet the appetite of a man of Walsh’s ilk, but they rarely are in Salthill. You get the talisman reputation for stepping up on days like these.

That’s not to say that Walsh isn’t a talisman, but he looks somewhat uninspired, as do Galway without him firing, and in the absence of Kelly.

Glen and Kilmacud have many parallels in the last 24 months or so, but you’d wonder how Walsh has been minded in that time, in comparison to the “slow roast” approach of Ryan Porter.

Club versus county probably brings about more rows than handshakes, but long before the world’s end, Derry will support Glen as Glen support Derry.

The reality is that Kilmacud don’t care for Galway. Galway don’t care for Kilmacud.

It was a move that promised the best of both worlds for the man who was the second biggest poster boy in the Gaelic football world.

Right now, Shane Walsh isn’t that, and perhaps between a rock and a hard place, he is the biggest loser in all of this.