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The Man Who Has Added Bite To The Galway Defence

The Man Who Has Added Bite To The Galway Defence
By PJ Browne
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CSI Moy is on the case of the Galway footballers. Sean Cavanagh didn't have to spend long dusting for fingerprints to see Paddy Tally's on Kevin Walsh's side.

Tally trained Tyrone when the county won its and Cavanagh's first ever All-Ireland title in 2003. The three-time All-Ireland winner is well acquainted with his fellow Tyrone man.

"Paddy did an amazing job with us in Tyrone when he was there," Cavanagh told Balls at the launch of Electric Ireland’s ‘This is Major’ campaign.

It didn't work out with him and Mickey, obviously, they went their separate ways. I think that was a loss for Tyrone. I know we ended up winning another two All-Irelands but I think it was a loss.

He's been away doing his stuff with St. Mary's and has been in and out of a few different counties but I know the St. Mary's guys absolutely loved him the last few years. He managed to get them the Sigerson.

While Galway have always put an impetus on defence under Kevin Walsh, their fortress is extra strong this year - it's gone from wood clad, to iron clad. Only Monaghan have raised the green flag against them.

"I could see the organisation, the buy-in of the players," said Cavanagh of Galway.


"The players love Paddy, he's very clear in what he's trying to do. His instructions are very militarian. That's sometimes what players and teams need."

Galway players have spoken of Tally, who joined the backroom team in December, as being a fresh voice. "Even our first game against Tyrone he had a nice inside track in that kinda game," Galway defender Eoghan Kerin said at an AIB event this week.

It is nice, I suppose, in that northern lads maybe look at the game with a different perspective. We have definitely brought a bit more of a bite to our game this year, it is something we probably didn't have over the last couple of games.

Even after Tally departed the Tyrone set-up, he and Cavanagh saw plenty of each other around Tyrone and in Belfast. Cavanagh said that he hasn't changed, that he's still "a great thinker".

People who don't understand will label him as a defensive coach - Paddy's an attacker. Paddy spends as much time trying to think through attacking movement as he does setting up defensive shapes.

It's easy to throw stones and abuse these defensive shapes but they're defensive shapes that work. If you're keeping a Mayo in Castlebar to ten points or whatever it was, that's a good day at the office. It's all about winning matches.

"The players are training so hard from last October and especially in Galway over the last number of years where there's that perception that they've been naive and open at the back. Kevin Walsh brought in someone who will ensure they're not open at the back.

"It will also ensure they have that drive and energy going forward. That's what they have in abundance at the moment: players with serious pace and power. It's one thing defending but it's another making sure you get up and on the end of moves. They have that at the moment. I'm sure they'll be able to tweak it against different opposition."

I think they will have to change it. Last year told everyone that when you play against Dublin, you can't just do one thing. There are times when they will have to go with different offensive formations. Now they're over the big one - they have a game where most people expect them to win their semi-final and play Roscommon.

I think they should look at tweaks and being able to switch and adapt within games because that's what Dublin do - at times they flood players back but at other times they'll flood players forward and you have to be able to switch between the two of them. No better man to do that than Paddy, I'm sure.

Four major GAA legends, Sean Cavanagh, Ollie Canning, Michael Fennelly and Daniel Goulding, have teamed up to form the Electric Ireland Minor Star Awards judging panel to shortlist Minor Player of the Week nominations for both hurling and football throughout the Championship. These Minor players will then go forward to be considered for inclusion on the Minor Hurling and Football teams of the Year which will be unveiled at the Electric Ireland Minor Star Awards in Croke Park in October.

Picture credit: Sportsfile


See Also: The Hair Gel Is Now Left Outside The Dressing Room Door Of Galway Football

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