Shefflin: 'It should hurt and that’s the way we feel in the dressing room'

Galway and Wexford drew in the Leinster SHC yesterday.

Conor Cooney reacts as referee Thomas Walsh penalises him for taking too long to take a free.
Conor Cooney reacts as referee Thomas Walsh penalises him for taking too long to take a free.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

HAVING SEEN HIS first championship victory as Galway boss snatched from his grasp in the dying seconds, Henry Shefflin did not hide his disappointment following their draw with Wexford.

Galway dominated the opening half of yesterday’s Leinster SHC opener and kept Wexford at arm’s length for most of the second period.

A late rally, inspired by Conor McDonald and Lee Chin, who hit the three injury-time scores, saw Wexford claim a remarkable draw.

Shefflin accepted his team surrendered a winning position, given they led by 1-18 to 0-15 after 62 minutes

“I’m sure Wexford think the opposite, but for me yes, the match was in our grasp, and after 72 minutes we were two points up. So absolutely (we left it behind). And are we disappointed in the dressing room? Yes, and it should hurt and that’s the way we feel in the dressing room

“But look, as I said, we’ll pick it up and reassess and go for next week with Westmeath. That’s the way this campaign is and this is the beauty for everyone else of the round-robin.

“We still have three games at home, and that’s where we need to start strong and get the win up in Salthill.”

Wexford upped their performance levels considerably after an opening period where they had just 0-2 on the board after 18 minutes. They only scored five points from play in the first-half, yet were just six down at the interval when Galway should have been further clear.

The Tribesmen paid for 10 first-half wides, which arrived inside the first 22 minutes.

“I thought we looked very much threatening in the first half. Brian (Concannon) and Conor (Whelan) looked very dangerous inside, and I thought we played better hurling.

“We said at half time we wanted that to continue, and for some reason that just didn’t transpire. We could have won the game, and those couple of late frees obviously cost us dearly.

“It’s a cliche but it was a game of two halves. We played very well in the first-half and just completely went out of it in the second-half when Wexford were coming.

“We were holding them off, but when we weren’t playing that well in the second-half we were still holding them but we were six ahead with 10 minutes to go.

“Then obviously the goal brought them really back into it.

conor-mcdonald-celebrates-scoring-a-goal Conor McDonald celebrates his goal. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“We had an opportunity ourselves. Joe Cooney went through, probably should have thrown the ball off and if he did that who knows we might have got the goal the other side. But definitely Wexford played a lot better. I’m sure they were disappointed with their first-half performance.

But look, Wexford to be fair used their bench really well and they definitely made an impact when they came in and the tide was turning against us.

The 10-time All-Ireland winner felt Thomas Walsh’s decision to take a 72nd minute free from Conor Cooney for time wasting was harsh.

“Talking about home advantage in this kind of competition; the moment Conor got the free I could sense that the crowd were on his back. Obviously then he made his decision, which I felt was really harsh on him.

“I did sense the crowd were straight on Conor’s back the minute it was (given). The minute he stepped over the free. It probably was a thing, going on timing, but he was sensing it. When Conor picked up the grass it probably was the final nail for him.

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

“Overall in the second half, I don’t know what his free count was but it definitely seemed to go against us.”

Galway did blood plenty of young talent with Cianan Fahy and Evan Niland making their first championship starts, while Gavin Lee and Jack Hastings debuted off the bench.

“There’s been a big transition, I think from last year’s 20 that we used against Waterford, there was nine of those players unavailable at the moment so there has been a big transition.

“But you look at someone like Tom Monaghan and Jack Grealish and other players (Fahy, Niland, Lee and Hastings) who came in for trials and they’re performing. This is of great benefit to them as well.

“So it is apparent the last few weeks have been good in the sense of trying players and I suppose we’ll see what next week holds with injuries and the form of lads and we’ll look forward to Westmeath now.”
Shefflin concluded on a positive note.

“I thought the tackling was very good and they were very aggressive, like I said I thought they worked very hard and probably worked so hard come the end they were probably blowing a little bit and that’s good, too.

“On a positive note, when we were coming down this morning we wanted to win obviously, but we didn’t want to lose either and we probably ended up in the middle, so from the half time position playing with a bit of a slight breeze in the second half, we probably didn’t finish that well.

“But look, it’s game one of five and the destiny is still in our hands. “

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel