Sunday 23 October 2016

Comer hopes to buck Galway trend again

Galway’s Damien Comer hopes to break the Croke Park hoodoo this weekend. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Galway’s Damien Comer hopes to break the Croke Park hoodoo this weekend. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

It's usually fuelled by a near-lethal dose of GAA paranoia when a player or manager declares "everyone wrote us off" but when Damien Comer says it, you'd find it hard to contradict him.

Or anyone else involved with Galway's footballers this year.

Even prior to the Championship, Kevin Walsh revealed that somewhere in the vicinity of 50 players had turned the offer to either train with, trial for, or join the Galway squad, so local optimism wasn't exactly raucous either.

"It baffles me why people would turn down that chance," Comer says now, a Connacht medal already trousered for his summer's work.


"People next year will probably be chomping at the bit to get in, to get on the panel. It's the huge lift that Galway football needed."

Still, it wouldn't be a surprise success if there wasn't a spate of finger-wagging in its aftermath.

"Everyone wrote us off," Comer says, revelling in that very act.

"Media wrote us off. Even on The Sunday Game they said, 'Obviously it's going to be a Roscommon and Mayo Connacht final', but I think that just drives us even more."

Even with hindsight, it would have been hard to construct a sturdy argument for Galway to beat Mayo that evening in Castlebar, whatever about their Connacht final success against a slowly-disintegrating Roscommon team.

"That made us want it even more," Comer insists.

"We knew what we had in our locker and Kevin instilled the belief in us and we started to believe in each other as a team as to the performance we can get out of it.

"The kind of negativity in the media was the biggest thing that drove us on to beating Mayo," he reveals.

"But we've been on the wrong end of a few hammerings from Mayo as well.

"It was probably our own doing as much as anyone else but it was nice to get over it."

So judging by his words, Galway themselves believed that success would be forthcoming?

"Every Galway team always has belief but when you're not getting the results it's kind of hard to keep that belief," he explains.

At just 23, Comer is "nearly one of the more experienced campaigners now, I'm there two or three years."

Yet he's also acutely aware of their record in Croke Park ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final with Tipperary.

"We haven't won here in 15 years. We've broken records already this year so that's one we'll hope to break again on Sunday," he adds.

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