Gary Sice critical of previous management who ‘did not equip’ Galway to take on Mayo

September 19, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

HOW DO YOU assess Galway’s 2016 campaign?

An FBD League success, a third-placed finish in Division 2 before a semi-final loss to Cavan, a win over Mayo en route to their first Connacht title since 2008 and then a devastating All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Tipperary.

Galway and Corofin forward Gary Sice.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It’s not a straightforward answer.

As Gary Sice reflects on Kevin Walsh’s second year in charge of the Tribesmen, “progress” is the word that jumps out for him.

Click Here: Geelong Cats Jersey

“A two-point win (over Mayo in Castlebar) was a great start and then to clip Roscommon and play like we did was super,” he says.

“We definitely imploded against Tipperary but when you have a group of young lads coming together who’ve just achieved something quite often that can happen.

“We’re not all negative, we’re quite positive, we’ve had a meeting about it and take it from what it us. A lot of learning’s done, a lot of confidence built up in the way Kevin does things.”

He’s witnessed plenty of dark days in Galway football, but Sice feels there’s every reason to be optimistic with a young, talented core emerging in the county.

“Sometimes when you have a new manager in you need an instant hit to get to get confidence built up around him,” he says.

Kevin Walsh and Gareth Bradshaw celebrate their Connacht title.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“The older guys would’ve understood who Kevin Walsh was, but I’m not so sure if the younger quantity would’ve totally understood who they were dealing with. Now they’ve seen it and lived it with him, it could be the start of something.

“And quite often things go in cycles, Mayo have had a pretty long cycle, I think there could be a wheel turning with them. I think our group is getting a little bit older, a bit cuter and hopefully they can turn the wheel on Mayo.”

“I think it’s the first time in a while that we’ve had someone stay on as manager. I think we had three year period of management there, where even as a management they were jumpy, they weren’t in any way organised, they weren’t in any way building something, they were just kind of hoping Galway football would take off, that’s not what happens.

“Kevin has a very distinct plan in place, he wants it done this way and we’re going to build this way and this is going to suit what we have. And when you have something like that and you cans see where it’s going, we got a marker of progress this year, a Connacht final, you kind of jump on ship and say ‘yeah okay this makes sense we’re making a bit of progress’.

“Hit a rock against Tipperary, took in a bit of water, didn’t sink though. The group stayed together and we’ll go again and see where we end up. Getting out of Division 2 would be lovely and a crack at Mayo in June in Galway would be a real marker again.”

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

Former Galway boss Alan Mulholland.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Speaking of dark days, Sice was quite critical of previous management teams, whom he believes “didn’t do the job.”

Alan Mulholland was in charge of his native Galway from 2012 to 2014, only once leading them to the last eight of the All-Ireland despite the presence of All-Ireland U21 winning teams from 2011 and 2013. Mayo dominated the province during that period.

“They didn’t give the tools needed to deal with a Mayo that were grinding out results and developing a machine,” the Corofin attacker continues.

“And they did develop a machine over a five year period, they dominated Connacht completely through organisation, through ruthlessness, through what I could only describe as bully tactics. They really played senior football.

“The management team in place did not equip us. The two U-21 teams that came through weren’t given the tools to live at senior and Kevin has now given it to them. He’s given them a set of tools to play senior, and lo and behold they’ve turned around and beaten Mayo.

“It’s not rocket-science really, is it? But it takes someone to come in and do that and do the rough work and do the dirty work and get it right and he has done that and I think he’s onto something good.”

Sice in action for Corofin against St Brigid’s.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Sice, who’ll miss the early part of the National League due to his club commitments with Corofin, said Walsh’s declaration last year that 53 players had declined a Galway call-up actually took the heat off the group of players in the panel.

“I think that was taken out of context which was maybe what Kevin wanted. When Kevin said it where he said it, it took a bit of limelight off things we were doing and it was a good idea and it worked out well.

“But I don’t think it was a clear picture of what was going on around the place at the time. I think if he went looking and digging deep he wouldn’t have found 10 that he wanted, never mind 58 (sic).

“I think at the moment things have changed, there are a lot more after surfacing. I won’t say surfacing out of nowhere, they’ve been developing through the club championship for the last two or three years.

“These guys are coming now and hopefully they get into the League team and make some progress. Two or three more players could really swing things for us, make a really strong unit out of us. Panels are key now. ”

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!