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04th Apr 2023

The GAA Hour: Shane Walsh’s positioning, Dublin’s target-men, great goalies

Niall McIntyre

Are Galway getting the best out of Shane Walsh?

Galway had a disappointing end to a positive League campaign when Mayo defeated them by 0-14 0-10 in the Division One final.

Mayo started much the brighter, with James Carr and Paddy Durcan kicking them into an early lead and while Galway did battle back, the lions’ share of the damage was done early on.

Shane Walsh did account for half of his side’s scores, kicking two crackers from open play for his part but there have been some questions asked about his positioning in the Galway team.

The 29-year-old spent much of his day floating around midfield, rather than up in the forward line and close to the Mayo goals.

It meant that, when he got the ball, he had it all to do in front of a mass of bodies and, two fantastic scores from play aside, at best, he was largely prohibited and curtailed.

Darran O’Sullivan feels there’s merit in the point that, as they did to devastating effect in the All-Ireland final vs Kerry last year, Galway would be better served by keeping Walsh closer to the goals,

“Do you really need him out around the middle” asks O’Sullivan.

Shane Walsh

“The two points he got, as outrageous as they were, you’re not going to win a game on outrageous scores.

“I always find that when a fella goes further out the field – because I’ve done it myself, and I definitely did it as I got older – you go out the middle because you don’t get marked as tightly there.

“You get more time and freedom.

“My thinking is if I’m against Shane Walsh, and he’s inside the 30 yard line, not only am I sticking to him, but two or three other fellas will be drawn to him too – and that’s going to open up so much space for the Comers, Tierneys and Finnertys…

“I just find he’s getting the ball and even though he’s good at play-making, but it just slows it down now, and the opposition has the defence packed back to stop him.”

It was a key part of Galway’s game-plan last year that Walsh and Comer would switch positions, and spend time both inside and out around the middle.

The fact that Comer was only coming back from injury may have made the Galway management more reluctant to bring him out into the middle this time, but maybe they’ll get Walsh back inside come championship time.

Catch up on this discussion, as well as so much more on this week’s GAA Hour. The brilliant displays of goalkeeping by David O’Hanlon, Colm Reape, Ray Galligan and Sean McNally are all praised, while Con O’Callaghan and Killian O’Gara are mentioned as giving Dublin another dimension in attack.

Catch up on it all here.


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