Galway won everything there was to win in 2017, but that didn't mean that manager Micheál Donoghue found himself beyond the reproach of demanding supporters. Back in the haggard, hazy days of February, with his side more defined by past failures than future glories. Donoghue faced some "over the top" abuse after his side lost to Wexford in the National League at Salthill, as he detailed to Sean Walsh in a lengthy interview with Galway Bay FM.
We know if we have a bad day. And occasionally, you will have bad days where things don't happen for you. [It was exacerbated by] the fact we'd been relegated the previous year and were favourites to come back up, and we had started well against Offaly. Wexford had won down in Limerick, so it was a key game for us very early in the season. That said, you are mindful of your preparation and where you're at, and going into that game, Wexford deserved to win.
They had more work done, but that's not an excuse. They deserved to win it. My message to the lads was that we were five or six points up and then we lost it because we didn't stick to the game plan. We reverted to type. So it was a huge learning experience.
The reaction we got after that was phenomenal. People listening to this may think that if you lose you deserve criticism, but this was totally over the top stuff. We were getting phone calls, letters to the house. Over the top.
I remember two days. [the other was] The day we got relegated [from Division 1A in 2016]. Coming off the pitch, the personal verbal abuse. I don’t mind taking criticism, you have to when you are in the game.
But when someone comes in front of you and gives you personal abuse and starts insulting you and your family that’s a bit over the top. I just felt the Wexford game, I felt it was over the top. We were getting phone calls saying we had to change this or do that, you'd be very surprised from who. It was still only February, and we still had a clear plan of where we were going.
That all being said, Donoghue was clearly blown away by the support his side garnered once the championship got rolling, and he paid testament to said support.
They are unbelievable. When they come in numbers and support, there is nobody like them. From the Dublin game right up to the final, the support has been fantastic.
Galway are expected to return to training on January 10th for a busy season in which the National League is compressed into less than two months, with the Leinster championship a round-robin competition prefacing an All-Ireland series hauled back into August.
Listen to the full interview on the Galway Bay FM website.