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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 26 September 2020

'I thought I'd never see Semple Stadium again as a player, I thought I'd never see Croke Park'

Cyril Donnellan savoured Galway’s win last Sunday.

Galway hurler Cyril Donnellan.
Galway hurler Cyril Donnellan.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

GALWAY’S VICTORY ON Sunday was cherished by one player in particular.

Cyril Donnellan missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing two operations on a groin injury and he had contemplated never returning to the inter-county game.

But the Padraig Pearses club man, who turns 30 in October, was back spearheading the Tribesmen drive to success last Sunday.

“Look I’m delighted I thought I’d never see Semple Stadium again as a player,” admitted Donnellan.

“I thought I’d never see Croke Park again.

“I had a very tough time for 18 or 20 months but I’m happy enough. The body isn’t getting any younger but once I keep injury free I’ll be happy.

“(I’d) two groin operations. It was very slow, it’s very hard to train on your own when you are making little progress.

“(I’m) delighted to be back, you really appreciate it.”

Eight times over the past decade, Galway’s senior hurling campaigns have ground to a halt in July and Thurles has frequently been the graveyard for their ambitions.

They ended those losing streaks on Sunday.

Padraig Mannion and David Collins celebrate after the game Galway's Padraig Mannion and David Collins celebrate after Sunday's game. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“It’s a big relief no doubt about it,” revealed Donnellan.

“It’s brilliant. We’d come there before, very disappointed leaving this stadium a number of years. No doubt about it, it’s a monkey off our backs and we’re delighted about it.

“We didn’t really talk about the problem with Thurles really, it was coming down to try and find a performance.

“The difficulty is trying to find the performance when you have lost in the championship already and I think we’ve done that.”

Conor Whelan celebrates scoring a late point Conor Whelan celebrates scoring a late point for Galway on Sunday. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Donnellan also paid tribute to the impact made by Galway’s young forwards. The trio of Cathal Mannion, Conor Whelan and Jason Flynn are all still eligible for the U21 grade but they shot a combined 1-12 for the senior team on Sunday.
“(I was) very impressed. Cathal Mannion has been doing it all year, big performance for us in the league when we were missing a lot of players.

“I think the spread of scores came from a range of different players. It’s built up about Joe and getting the ball to Joe  but we’ve loads of scoring forwards.

“(Conor) is a good lad, 19. Anthony always says if you do it in training, you’ll get your start.

“He was doing it in training the last number of weeks so why not put him out there and see how he goes.”

‘By God, we’re going to be in for one hell of a battle in two weeks time’

Galway and Waterford dominate our Hurling Team of the Weekend

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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