Colm Galvin has accredited Clare’s recent run of good form to a tried and trusted formula, “hard work”.
Speaking at a preview event in Croke Park on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Sunday’s National Hurling League Final, the Clonlara man is full of admiration for Waterford’s style of play and he’s looking forward to doing battle with them on more than one occasion in the coming weeks.
“I think they were very unfortunate not to get further last year the way they played they won the League very convincingly and this year they’re putting teams away again you know. I’d rate them there if not the best team with Kilkenny up there at the moment just by the way they’re playing you know. I suppose we’re going to have to bring our absolute A-game on Sunday and see how we get on but it’s going to be an interesting year meeting them again in the Championship. Both teams won’t be holding back on Sunday and they won’t be holding back for the Championship either so it’s going to be a good few weeks coming up”.
A comprehensive semi-final win over Kilkenny has given Clare a confidence lift according to Galvin. “It’s given us a bit of confidence I suppose but we beat them two years ago aswell in the League and we didn’t really kick on from there. Kilkenny are only one team in Ireland and on the day they’re beatable but we all know how good they are aswell so it was a great boost to the camp and it’s all eyes ahead as we were going on. It was great to get the momentum but we’ll hopefully be able to carry that into Sunday”.
The midfielder admits that he was slightly shocked with the nature of the victory. “I haven’t seen Kilkenny get beaten by nine or ten points in a long long time, maybe 2001 was the last time so it just shows you how dominant they are. I was a bit taken aback but I didn’t really reflect on it till after the game”
While he acknowledges the influence of new personnel as a reason for recent results, Colm emphasises their increased workrate as a bigger factor. “I suppose, look we were very unlucky not to win one or two close games last year, we were only losing by a point or two, it wasn’t as if we were getting blown out of the water. We’ve probably upped our workrate this year and our numbers in terms of tackling, hooking and blocking have probably come up and that’s probably been the difference this year. We’re working fairly well as a unit and you could say Donal Óg, Paul Kinnerk and Aonghus O’Brien coming in has made probably made an impact in some sort of way aswell”.
Davy Fitzgerald’s recruitment of Donal Óg Cusack to the Clare management has been a positive move. The 2013 All-Star highlights the professionalism the Cloyne native has brought to the management and how well he has integrated to the backroom team.
“I suppose he’s brought a lot to the backs especially, he’d be very heavily involved with the backs but he’s brought a professionalism aswell, he’s very high standards in terms of when he comes to training there’s no messing about you know, you do what your meant to do and if you’re not doing a job you’ll be pulled up on it and I suppose that’s something very important to have and his presence alone, he’s been there, he’s won Munsters, All-Irelands, he’s a key figure in the GAA and he’s great to have on board but it’s not just Donal, you have Paul Kinnerk and you have Aonghus O’Brien and they’ve all grouped together and come up with strategies and gameplans and stuff that seem to be working for us and it’s a good system to have at the moment.
A Fitzgibbon Cup winner with Mary Immaculate College, Colm feels playing in Division 1B has benefited the team. “It gives lads a bit of confidence, it gives them a winning streak and it’s a very important thing in any sport to have a winning streak, once you’re on a winning streak it’s very hard to stop and any good team in the country knows that and am, look it was grand to come in under the radar aswell in 1B in a sense whereas all the top teams are playing against each other in Division 1A and it took a bit of focus off us”.
Getting to this stage in the League is a major benefit to Clare’s championship patterns says Galvin who will play in his first League final in Semple Stadium on Sunday. “It’s a relief to start winning games by one or two points rather than to be losing them by one or two points. The longer you stay in the League the better for your hurling because your hurling is sharper, you’re not doing as much tough training in between we’ll say March, April to June, your fitness levels are going to remain very high for Championship. Don’t get me wrong the level we’re playing at in League is not very far off the Championship pace at all if anything off the Championship pace so the longer you stay in the League the better I think the chance you have later on in the year”.
For any team to succeed, Galvin underlines the importance of each and everyone involved in the setup buying into a system. He brushed off criticism of their short-possession style but admits there has been a slight adaptation to how they play.
“I suppose we’ve sort of varied our game a bit more, we got a bit of criticism for it but when we won everyone thought it was a brilliant idea so I don’t know what they’re saying now, look it’s the same with Waterford they’ve stuck a system over the last two years and it has worked very well. But as anyone knows, if one player doesn’t buy into the system you may as well not use it as well as you can with Waterford they’ve bought into the system over the last two years and they’re playing very well, we’re trying to buy into the system this year and I think that it’s very important that everyone believes that the system they’re going with or the tactics they’re using are going to work otherwise it’s going to be a waste of time”