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'We're on a bit of a journey at the moment and this is only a stopping point on it'

Galway manager Tim Rabbitt reflects on his side’s All-Ireland final defeat at the hands of Dublin.

Galway's Aine McDonagh dejected afterwards.
Galway's Aine McDonagh dejected afterwards.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Updated Sep 16th 2019, 7:15 AM

A DISAPPOINTING END to a great 2019 for Galway ladies, but Tim Rabbitt has backed his troops to go again after their All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.

This summer, the Tribe reached a first All-Ireland final since 2005 after falling short at the semi-final stage so many times before and yesterday’s 2-3 to 0-4 defeat to Mick Bohan’s three-in-a-row champions comes as just a “stopping point” on the journey.

A bizarre final — the lowest scoring since 2003′s 1-4 to 0-5 meeting of Mayo and Dublin — it’s one Rabbitt and his side will learn a lot from. 

They were out of the blocks brightest, with their match-ups and intentions spot on, but in the end, Dublin’s experience of the big stage reigned supreme and they grabbed the all-important goals, while Galway will rue their early misses.

“As often happens in these games you get [and miss] a couple of chances like that and you’re hoping it won’t be the deciding factor,” he said afterwards, “but it was a really good start from our guys and we just didn’t take the opportunities when they came.

“What was it – five scores to four? Every chance then was going to be very important.

tim-rabbitte Galway manager Rabbitt. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“There were no nerves today. It wasn’t that we didn’t perform. This is a developing team, we were very calm, we were well in the game for long periods. We just made too many turnovers at crucial periods and Dublin, being the team that they are, punished us.

To only concede five scores in a match, and especially against Dublin, you’d expect to win a game but they are worthy All-Ireland champions and congrats to them on the three in-a-row.

He says Galway knew it was going to be a “different kind of game” to their “open” All-Ireland semi-final win over Mayo after past experiences with Dublin, and that conditions definitely wouldn’t have helped the low-scoring nature of yesterday’s battle. Not the best advertisement for ladies football.

“It never stopped raining for the whole game so conditions were bad but it was more missed chances,” he noted. “Dublin missed a few in the first half, we missed a few but yes, I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game with just two scores at half time.

It’s unusual but that’s just the way it unfolded. I never thought it was going to be a shoot-out today. We couldn’t allow it to be, we had to be sure to be defensively strong, but we didn’t take our chances when they came.

“Once they got the goals, we were going into a lot of traffic and they turned over a lot of ball against us which we knew would happen but we had to take to take the game to them in the end.”

the-galway-bench-link-arms-before-the-game The Galway bench link arms before throw-in. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The end of 2019 it is so, but definitely not the end of this Galway team.

They’ll go again, Oranmore/Maree man Rabbitt, who stepped up to the helm after coming in as a selector under Stephen Glennon last year, insists.

We’re on a bit of a journey at the moment and this is only a stopping point on it,” he said of his 2019 league finalists.

“The girls have been absolutely brilliant all year and put in a super effort. Everyone; players, county board, sponsors really came together and maybe that’s something that’s been lacking in Galway football before, that backing each other and rowing in together.

“But that certainly has been there this year and we want to build on that now.”

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Emma Duffy

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