KEVIN WALSH WAS proud that Galway went down fighting in their championship exit to Donegal.
The Tribesmen led by a point early in the second half of Saturday’s Round 4B football qualifier in Croke Park before Donegal blitzed them.
Second-half goals from Ryan McHugh and Christy Toye secured a 10-point win and a quarter-final date against Mayo next weekend.
“Absolutely (I’m proud),” Galway manager Walsh said afterwards.
“It wasn’t a case of going down 10 points in the first half and then knocking on a few late scores. I think it was important that we were fighting in the game when it mattered.
I think we fought very hard for 50 minutes. I’m very proud of how they worked. The wheels came off for the last few minutes.
The defeat brings an end to Walsh’s first season in charge out west, and he agreed that the one-sided scoreline does not reflect the progress Galway have made.
“It’s disappointing. For the last few minutes we left ourselves exposed at the back, going out to try to get the game back.
Maybe there are certain teams out there who stick to the process all day and are happy to lose by three or four points but that’s not in this team. I think we needed to go out and try and win that game.
“We felt that we were going to win the game before the game, and there’s no point going home with regrets.”
Wins for Donegal and Tyrone on Saturday mean that six of the eight quarter-finalists played Division 1 football this spring.
But Walsh believes it’s consistency, rather than a higher level of competition, that Division 2 Galway need.
“I think we have to be consistent. We’ve been missing that in Galway for the last year or two.
There’s no point going up to Division 1 and coming straight back down.
“We have to become more consistent as a team and if that’s in Division 2, it’s in Division 2.
“You have Derry and Tyrone there and you have Fermanagh coming up, so you have lots of very good teams. Meath are still there, Laois.
“I take the point that if you’re out every day in Division 1, then you learn lessons like that. But you have to be ready for those lessons, and hopefully this will bring us a long way to that.”