Shane Walsh put on one of the all-time great All-Ireland final performances from a losing player and he firmly believes Galway can bounce back and claim ultimate honours.
Even his stunning display against Kerry and a haul of 0-9 from the Kilkerrin/Clonberne man was not enough to bring the Sam Maguire Cup back for the first time since they won their ninth title in 2001.
While the 29-year old is gutted about losing, he’s confident that the whole experience can propel them to glory down the line.
“We have players coming through from an U-20 team that won an All-Ireland. The minors won the All-Ireland as well this year, so the future is bright,” said Walsh
“We just need to get back training, put that bit more effort into it.
“We came up short this year but we need to learn from it, we need to use this disappointment to get us over the line.
“Kerry went through this disappointment a few years ago. Maybe that stood to them in the closing minutes, maybe we can learn like them as well and come back stronger and go all the way.
“But this experience has been good for us. We’ve enjoyed it and when you see the way the county backed us, came out in support, and for the way they welcomed us home, it gives you that drive to get back into the final and go one better. We are determined to do that.”
Walsh played down his own majestic performance, shooting nine points off both feet, from placed balls and from open play.
“I was playing a role that allowed me do that, a game-plan that gave me the opportunities. But the hard work was done out the field by guys like John Daly and several others, and indeed those up front as well.
“It was their hard work which gave me the chances and, yes, it was good to see them go over but all I was doing was finishing off the work of others. It’s never about one person, we are a team, we are a squad.
“And that’s what we need to do now. As a group we need to push each other, we need lads outside the group pushing to get into it. That will drive things.
“We saw this year we are not far off it, but we need to get back now and start building again and make sure we never go this long being out of it again.
“Everyone is hurt,it doesn’t get any easier a day or two later but it certainly whets the appetite. I know Paul Conroy has been waiting 15 years to play in an All-Ireland and I’m 10 years waiting. We can’t ever allow that gap again.
“I had a lovely send-off from my own club Kilkerrin/Clonberne on Saturday before we left. The whole occasion on Sunday was fantastic, the homecoming, all of it. The colour, the support, the goodwill … if that doesn’t whet your appetite I don’t know what will. We want to get back for more of that and hopefully go that extra bit and win it,” added Walsh.
Galway manager Pádraic Joyce was delighted to see Walsh prove his quality on the biggest stage.
“He’s 10 years playing for Galway and he has had to wait that long to play in a final,” said Joyce.
“He was fantastic, in fairness, he was outstanding. He’s a great player and that’s where a big player shines, on the big stage.
“And with that nobody can ever question his mentality or his prowess as a footballer.”
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