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Meehan comeback - 'When he walked into the dressing-room, the place nearly froze just in awe'

The return of the star forward was great news for the Galway squad.

Michael Meehan has returned to the Galway football ranks.
Michael Meehan has returned to the Galway football ranks.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

IT’S JUST OVER a month since it was confirmed that Galway’s Michael Meehan was aiming to again unleash his range of attacking talents on inter-county Gaelic football.

Three years after a troublesome ankle injury had forced him into retirement, Meehan is attempting to revive his career.

Shane Walsh is a key part of Galway’s current side – kicking crucial points to clinch league promotion yesterday against Kildare – but the return to their squad of a player he idolised growing up, delighted the Kilkerrin-Clonberne club man.

“When I played my first year with Galway, (it was) Mike’s last year originally. I always take the compliment that I kicked it into him and he was fouled (for the goal v Cork in 2013)!

“I was delighted. He’s just such a presence in the dressing-room. I remember when he walked into the dressing-room, the place nearly froze just in awe of him.

“He’s such a nice man Mikey, he’s so passionate about football and he’s so passionate about Galway and his club. Those are the kind of players you want to see representing your county.

“I’d be in awe of Mikey. I went to all the Caltra games when they won the All-Ireland. He’s such a classy player. He ticks all the boxes, he’s aggressive, physically strong, able to take a score, his decision making is very good. He’s the type of player that every young player can look up to.

“I think the big thing was Mike saw where the panel was at, at the moment. A lot of lads have a lot of work done. He’s been training away, doing his bit, just involved with the panel. That’s the way we want it.”

Allianz Football League Finals Media Day Shane Walsh (left) speaking the the Allianz football league finals media day. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

The addition of Meehan further bolsters Galway’s attacking options in 2017. They already can call on the services of Sean Armstrong again after he came out of retirement last winter.

Corofin players are back in harness after their All-Ireland club campaign, while established forwards like Danny Cummins and Damien Comer are recovering from spells on the treatment table.

“You’re trying to nail down a spot but the nail seems to be coming back up, when you hear those lads fighting for places,” laughs Walsh.

“It’s a great place to be, everyone is absolutely buzzing. The last few years, it mightn’t have been as difficult a challenge but from now on, you know you’re only as good as your last game.

“It’s hard for anyone to be negative. Everyone is just buying in to what we’re doing. There’s a real good feeling in the camp.”

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Galway held a slender winning margin on Sunday yet the prize was precious. For the first time since 2011, they will return to the top tier next spring.

“Yesterday when the full time whistle went, it was just delight to hear it,” says Walsh.

“Everything we’ve put in to training and matches, we got our reward yesterday. It’s just a brilliant feeling to know we’ll be at the top table next year.

“I remember going to Galway games when they were in Division 1 and I always said I’d love to be playing in those kind of games. Every year you’re striving to make progression, I felt that this year we’ve made it.

“I think we’ve done it the best way possible. We only lost one game by a point and we drew one game and won the rest. That’s the way you want to go up.”

Shane Walsh and Con Cavanagh Shane Walsh in action for Galway yesterday against Kildare. Source: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

The success propels them into an Allianz Division 2 league final against Kildare next Sunday and rounded off a splendid weekend for football in the county after their EirGrid Connacht U21 final win on Saturday night.

“I was down at the game in Markievicz Park, they put in a brilliant performance,” says Walsh.

“It’s great to see the U21′s doing well, especially as there’s four or five involved with the senior panel as well.

“They’ve great character. They went eight down in the first half and to come back from that and go down again at the end of the game and come back and draw it. It just shows the character that’s there.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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