McIntyre to review season with Galway board

Galway hurling chiefs face some difficult days ahead as they come to terms with another disappointing Championship exit.

For the sixth season on the trot, the Tribesmen have failed to qualify for an All-Ireland semi-final and the manner of yesterday's collapse to Waterford leaves a bitter taste in many mouths.

Some will lay the blame squarely at the feet of manager John McIntyre for failing to get the best out of one of the most talented panels in the country.

Others will demand that the players are held responsible for what will go down as one of the poorest Galway displays of the modern era.

A flood of questions will have to be answered, top of the list being their alarming slide in a second half during which a number of players simply went missing.

The performance was a long way off their character-building victories over Clare and Cork in the qualifiers, a run that had raised hopes of ending the county's 23-year wait for a Liam MacCarthy Cup success.

McIntyre, who has been in the hot seat since November 2008, had a positive response from Galway Hurling Board delegates last year when he was reappointed for another two seasons.

But the 10-point defeat to Waterford leaves the Tipperary man in a difficult position, and he was in philosophical mood when questioned afterwards.

"I will sit down and talk to the Hurling Board and we'll carry out a review," he told RTÉ.

"I have another year to run with a review after this season. I'm a realist, I can imagine some of the stuff that's being said. What can I do? That's the jungle, and that's the jungle I'm happy to live in.

"The bottom line is whatever is in the best interests of Galway hurling, John McIntyre has no problem in accepting that."

Galway had an erratic season overall, winning four of their seven Allianz Hurling League matches and losing to Dublin in both the Walsh Cup and Leinster Championship.

They seemed to rediscover their scoring touch in the qualifiers, accumulating 6-48 against Clare and Cork, yet there were a shadow of their former selves in Thurles.

McIntyre was always wary of a potential backlash from the Déise, insisting: "I’ve never believed in the script and all the loose talk that’s been going on over the past fortnight.

"We knew coming down here there was going to be a huge Waterford backlash. I remember looking at the Munster final, after the game was over, and saying to myself that I would have much preferred if Waterford were only beaten by two points rather than 21.

"We were beaten all over the field today - there are no excuses, no complaints. As a group of men, it's much easier to cope with losing by 10 points rather than the one we had to endure last year and the year before."

Eventual champions Tipperary beat Galway by 3-17 to 3-16 at the quarter-final stage last July, while in the previous campaign Waterford edged them on a 1-16 to 0-18 scoreline.

Such was the disappointing nature of yesterday afternoon, McIntyre felt the need to issue a public apology to the Galway fans who paid in to see the game.

"I'd like to apologise on behalf of myself, the team management and the Galway players to the Galway supporters that were here today," he added.

"That's not a true reflection of the team. I know Waterford were good on the day and had an almighty cause. And fair dues to them, I congratulate them wholeheartedly but we just didn't perform."

McIntyre sounded like a broken record when he explained that 'we're all in this together'. It is the same 'collective responsibility' line that he trotted out after they were hammered by Tipperary in this year's league, and also in the aftermath of last month's Leinster semi-final loss to Dublin.

The former Offaly boss continued: "There will be a blame game but it's going to happen outside of the Galway dressing room. Those players have given me their heart and soul over the past three years.

"They've really trained hard, decent men, honourable men to work with and I'm upset for them, upset for the team management as well. An awful lot of work has gone into this and where there are winners, there's losers.

"The defeat is very comprehensive and Galway is going to have to carry out a root and branch examination of why they're not delivering on the underage successes and All-Ireland club victories.

"Physically, Waterford overpowered us today. I think that was a key component, they were sharper on the breaking ball and thoroughly deserved their win."

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