Galway star Shane Walsh who produced one of the greatest ever performances by a losing player in an All-Ireland final has spoken for the first time since the Tribesmen suffered their heartbreaking loss to Kerry.
The Kilkerrin/Clonberne man kicked nine points in the final, five points off his right boot and four off his left, including some exceptional scores from tight angles, in an epic performance that left fans across the country calling for him to be awarded the Man of the Match award by 'The Sunday Game'. The RTÉ pundits ultimately gave Kerry's David Clifford the award.
Walsh was subsequently voted as the GAA's Player of the Week via Instagram poll.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 27, 2022
Walsh has played down his own performance and has singled out the role played by his teammates in an interview with the Irish Examiner complimenting their "hard work" which allowed him to take his chances.
“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," the talented forward said.
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."
The game every coach should sit, watch and talk through with young players.
For me what made it great was the consistently Brilliant execution of the
Fielding, Soloing, Blocking, Foot Passing, Kicking with both feet… pic.twitter.com/mpTOIuEbzz
— Ray Boyne (@AnalysisGaa) July 25, 2022
Galway won the All-Ireland U20 title in 2020 and were crowned minor champions earlier this month allowing Walsh to be optimistic about the future despite the disappointment of Sunday.
“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."
Walsh is hopeful that they can bring Sam Maguire back to their county for the first time since 2001 in the near future.
“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."
With performances like the one Walsh delivered on Sunday, Galway shouldn't have to wait over twenty years for their next All-Ireland final appearance.