The comments by three of Galways’s former stars in Saturday’s Irish Independent certainly rang true at O’Connor Park later that evening as the current side turned in one of their poorest performances in recent years.
Conor Hayes, Noel Lane and Brendan Lynskey had been very critical of the team before the match and had this to say:
“When their backs are to the wall, they don’t come out fighting – they remain against the wall, they capitulate too easily.” – Hayes.
“You have to ask do they not have the mental toughness or physical ruthlessness, that savage will to win.” – Lane.
“Three or four of the lads on the current team are not entitled to be wearing a maroon and white jersey at all.” -Lynskey.
Manager John McIntyre did his best to defend his side after their shocking defeat to Dublin in Tullamore but was conscious of the fact that the trio of former greats may well be correct in their assessment:
“I appreciate that the critics are going to have a field day back home and I heard some of the comments coming off the field about management and players being a disgrace to Galway hurling. We have to live with that for the next fortnight, but we’re going to stay together, stay united and hopefully the players will avail of the opportunity (in the qualifiers) to retrieve their reputations.
“It’s the ultimate test of character now for everybody associated with this Galway senior hurling team … if we don’t avail of that opportunity (in the qualifiers) … the Irish Independent today and the big headline on the front page: are Galway too soft? Well then, maybe we’ll just all have to accept that, you know, it’s a fair comment, but we still have an opportunity this night fortnight. If we don’t avail of that opportunity, well then the consequences are severe for both this panel of players and the team management.”