“Padraic has sent a clear message.”
Walsh was substituted just five minutes into the second half, and had only kicked two points from free kicks, with none coming from play.
The Kilmacud Crokes forward has been criticised for his recent performances against Roscommon and Mayo, where he hasn’t seemed to be as sharp as you would expect.
Speaking on The Sunday Game after the match, Cooper shared his views on the forward’s current run of form.
“The one I would look closely at is Shane Walsh being taken off five minutes into the second half. He looked disinterested.
“He was probably told at half time that he was getting five minutes to shape up, but that didn’t happen and it sent a big message to the squad that if you’re not at it, then you won’t get game time.”
Lee Keegan was also on the panel, and the Mayo legend echoed the thoughts of his Kerry colleague.
“We mentioned against Roscommon that he was kind of ineffective as well, he kind of played a loose role. It’s not the Shane Walsh that we associate with the All-Ireland final last year – going direct, taking his man on, and hitting some of the best scores we’ve ever seen.
“I agree with Colm, I think he looked disinterested today, and I think that Padraic has sent a clear message that if you’re not doing your stuff, then you’ll not be playing.
"I think he looked disinterested"
Shane Walsh was withdrawn early in the second half of Galway's Connacht SFC final win and both Lee Keegan and Colm Cooper felt the forward was well below par #rtegaa
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) May 7, 2023
“Even with the sub, Colm Sweeney having a good impact, albeit the game was out of reach, but he kicked two scores, two turn overs, so I think Padraic has hit out a stall to his players that if you’re not performing then you’re not playing.”
After the game, Joyce told RTE that Walsh had been suffering with an illness in the lead up to the game, and that was his reasoning behind the substitution.
- Padraic Joyce hooks Shane Walsh as Galway cruise past Sligo
- Epic scenes awaited Sligo team bus as they reach U20 All-Ireland final
- Sam Mulroy: The intricate pre-match routine of an inter-county footballer