NUI Galway deserve football league inclusion

Connacht Provincial Council Secretary John Prenty believes the time has come to give colleges the boot from the Connacht senior football league and will bring forward a motion in their annual convention to dismiss NUI Galway, IT Sligo and GMIT from the competition. This is a motion that I am sure will infuriate NUI Galway players and fans alike. The FBD was the perfect opener to the year for our college Men’s team as they now focus their attention on the Sigerson Cup post-mortem, following their exit at the hands of St Mary’s.

The club simply can’t win. Before the FBD began, Galway GAA CEO, John Hynes hit out at NUI Gaway for what he described as their ‘lack of focus on GAA activities’. He went on to add that the college’s attitude towards Gaelic games at present as ‘worrying’. This came just days after our senior team had won the Second Division League, meaning a promotion to the First Division for the following year.

Now, after a very successful two wins out of three in the FBD, the rug wants to be pulled from under our feet? How does one GAA body expect us to have a ‘focus on GAA activities’ when the other wants to withdraw our college from a tournament where you get the chance to play against some of the best players in Connacht? If anything, their attitude towards Gaelic Games seems a lot more ‘worrying’ than ours.

If the Corribsiders were to be banished from the League Competition in future, would it mean missing out on a win against an All-Ireland runner up and top four county team? It doesn’t matter what sort of Mayo side were on show that day, the records will forever show that we beat Mayo in 2017 and that is something that will live on in the history books.

I remember writing a preview article for the Mayo GAA Blog before the FBD started where I stated that, “supporters will leave MacHale Park with a player’s name on their lips who they may never have heard of before”. I was right, but I didn’t think he would be wearing the maroon colours. Mayo man Adam Gallagher was extraordinary that day. To score nine points against your own county, on your own soil, it’s a fantastic feat and one which will hopefully serve his confidence well in the coming weeks. Damien Comer, Michael Daly and Enda Tierney to name but a few also played out of their skin that day.

A quick spin down the road to Roscommon was not as enjoyable as the trip to Mayo, as the Rossies broke our hearts with a late goal, deep into added time. What was worse than the late goal, was the fact that we could have easily won that game. Roscommon let us off the hook with numerous wides and when Michael Daly’s shot was blocked on the goal line with just four points separating the teams, it could have been a much different closing 10 minutes. One Gallagher was on everyone’s lips the week before, this week it was another one. Owen Gallagher struck over some monster scores in that game. To say that he and Kieran Molloy covered every blade of grass would be an understatement.

The win against IT Sligo was another all-round team performance. Just like Mayo, it wasn’t plain sailing. Enda Tierney rattled home an early goal but it was cancelled out by two Sligo ones. The Galway outfit’s work rate was astonishing, working seven unanswered scores at one stage, just to get the game back on a level playing field. Tierney was outstanding in the centre of the field, matched with the efforts in the forward line by Ryan Forde, Owen Gallagher and Damian Comer. When the game seemed to be out of our reach, the lads pushed up the field together and worked their way into the IT Sligo goal. The finisher? Comer, a man who if we had in Roscommon, we may have come away with something.

So far, 2017 has been a fantastic stepping stone for the panel to build and grow. Why someone would want to take that away from them is beyond me. It’s strange that the men at the top, unbeknown to themselves, are demoting the game while the small lads like me at the bottom try their best to promote it as much as possible.

I don’t know, it’s all GAA GAA if you ask me.

-By Darragh Berry


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