Ward slams Galway’s negative tactics

John Connolly & Phil

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John Connolly & Phil

Leitrim manager Shane Ward (right) pictured with selector Brendan Drummond on the sideline last Sunday. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Leitrim manager Shane Ward slammed what he described as negative Galway tactics during the second half of Sunday’s Connacht Senior Championship Quarter-Final in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.

Leitrim manager Shane Ward slammed what he described as negative Galway tactics during the second half of Sunday’s Connacht Senior Championship Quarter-Final in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.

The Leitrim manager took exception to the Tribesmen approach to maintaining their lead during the second half with Galway running up a total of 29 frees in the second half as Shane told the Observer “I thought Galway were very negative in the second half, I have to say.

“I don’t know how many times the physios were on the field and I don’t know how many times, for big men supposedly being hit by small men, they were hurt quite a lot which doesn’t add up. I thought they were very, very negative.

“At one stage, they had 15 men in their own 45 and they speak about us and they speak about Ulster football, the questions have to go an awful lot further afield than that. Certainly, I think the big men hit and when the big men hit and we won the free, they went down in a heap, it doesn’t make good viewing for the audience.

“That’s a professional team I suppose, a Division 2 team that knows how to kill out a game but nonetheless, it doesn’t make a spectacle for spectators. You far rather watch 15 men behind the ball working hard and letting the game flow rather than men lying down on the ground with physios around them all the time.”

Galway manager Kevin Walsh seemed surprised by the statistic that his side had conceded 42 frees in total as he told the media “That’s the first I knew that it was high against us. I’ll have to sit back and assess that and look at that but that’s new to me.

As for the match itself, Walsh said Galway were prepared for a defensive Leitrim approach - “We expected that Leitrim would fill the channels in their own defence and every time we touched the ball their wing backs and wing forwards were falling back in that hole.

“They were quite happy just to make sure we didn’t get through it. Once we went a few points up I didn’t really care if Leitrim didn’t want to come out and get back the lead, that’s their prerogative as well.”

The Galway manager also said that the Tribesmen were well aware of the threat posed by Leitrim - “We would have treated all the players the same way to be honest. Young Wrynn came in and obviously Conlan as well, they are quite nifty.

“I know they had a few challenges in the build-up to this and played well in one or two teams as well, they are a good young team and they are well focused and I would say they believed that they were going to win that game today as any team would do. They made life difficult for us but we’re quite happy with the win.”

For more reaction and analysis from last Sunday’s Connacht Senior Championship Quarter-Final, see this week’s Leitrim Observer, in shops Wednesday.