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12th Feb 2018

Shane Walsh runs from his own half to kick one of the scores of the weekend

Conan Doherty

Shane Walsh burns rubber when he gets going.

It’s probably about time that Galway stop taking as much stick as they have been doing. Maybe it’s all relative, maybe it’s only February, but the bottom line is that Kevin Walsh’s side have played three games in the top tier of the National Football League and they’ve won all three of them.

Tyrone, Donegal, and Mayo have come unstuck against the Tribesmen who are just one of three teams to have kept a clean sheet across all four divisions to date.

On Thursday’s GAA Hour, Galway’s attacking setup came in for some criticism. Despite another win in Donegal – whom funnily enough, were taking rave reviews again after a loss – the questions were asked of the men from the west about whether or not they had a good enough game plan to hurt teams as much as they could.

In Damien Comer, they have one of the best forwards in the land but he isn’t being sickened with possession like he should be. A big part of that is down to the fact that they have runners. Hard, powerful, honest runners coming from all over the pitch that allows them to transition from defence to attack in fluid, reliable motion.

When Comer is inside in the full forward line, it might not suit him as well or get the most out of him but, Christ, it certainly suits Shane Walsh who showed all of his skill, his directness and his raw pace in one lung-bursting move that saw him carry the ball from his own half straight through the heart of Mayo.

He just kept going and going, he shrugged off Jason Doherty’s retreat, he sold the sharpest of dummies and kept his composure and energy to strike cleanly between the posts.

It’s a credit to Galway that, when teams like Mayo are looking heavy and flat on their heels, they’re making football look so easy and they’re doing it with pure honest running. There’s always an option for a Galway man, there’s always another nightmare tracking job to do for the opposition, and it almost looks easy to play on the side, granted you’d have to open out the lungs as much as they can.

And, when Shane Walsh is in this sort of form, there’s no better poster boy for that modern day middle eight player. A selfless man who can come deep, help out and then sniff out a scoring opportunity even from his own half. But he’s also able to execute too.

It was all captured brilliantly by TG4. What a run.

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