Where do you start with a problem like Galway footballers?

A consistent presence at the top level in recent years and a team with talented footballers who look capable of putting it up to the best.

Yet they have managed to disappoint in some way every summer under manager Kevin Walsh.

Walsh took over and no doubt he has transformed this team from Connacht cannon-fodder into a Division 1 team that won two of the last four provincial titles.

But when it comes to making the big breakthrough at national level, they still look to be a long way off. Progress has been steady, though the increments have been small.

In 2016 they won Connacht after an eight-year break so their All-Ireland quarter-final upset to Tipperary was easily explained away. The following year they were turned over by a Kerry side playing route-one football.

Last year they took the Nestor Cup out west again, but their inability to beat Monaghan at home in the final round of Super 8s games ensured an All-Ireland semi-final against an unstoppable Dublin side.

Was this the year they were finally going to kick on? At the break in Sunday’s Connacht final it certainly looked that way as they led Roscommon by five following a patient and efficient half of football.

"The second half we just didn’t seem to get our hands on the ball. We turned over the ball maybe two or three times at the start of the second half, when we were attacking, and the next 20 minutes we didn’t seem to get our hands on the ball," noted Walsh.

"One thing for sure is it wasn’t a consistent performance."

It was a bad week for Galway GAA. Their hurlers, All-Ireland champions two years ago and beaten finalists last August, were knocked out of the Leinster championship by Dublin to end their summer early.

Conditions weren't great in Salthill

The Dubs were managed by Galway man Mattie Kenny while the Rossies had another Tribesman, Anthony Cunningham, in charge.

The footballers aren’t out of the fight yet, but they will have it all to do to see Croke Park this year. They face an All-Ireland qualifier on the weekend of 6/7 July with a place in the Super 8s at stake.

The draw may be kind to them, though their opponents could yet be a side the calibre of Mayo or Tyrone.

"It’s never easy," admitted Walsh, one of the game’s great midfielders who won All-Irelands with the Tribesmen in 1998 and 2001. "We're exactly where we were two years ago; we lost this match here two years ago. 

"It’s three weeks now. We've club football next weekend as well here, so we’ve two weeks after that and we’ll have to see who comes in the draw.  

"But at this moment it’s raw, and there’s no point in saying too much about that. But certainly after a week is over and they get the club out of the way, lads I'd be hoping will be ready to come back and try and put this right."

Cathal Cregg chases Johnny Heaney

Galway lost midfielder Fiontán Ó Curraoin to injury during the first half, which didn’t help as it added to their already lengthy injury list.

Captain Damien Comer hasn’t played all year and their loss to the Rossies brings forward their next match by a week.

"He's not ready," said Walsh of Comer.

"We just have to see what happens over the next while. The fact we're going to be out a week earlier now obviously brings it a bit closer. If we got over today we'd have four weeks, we now have three weeks."

Walsh also clarified that the decision to play Ruairí Lavelle in goals wasn’t made last-minute even though it wasn’t announced that he was starting ahead of Bernard Power until shortly before throw-in.

"There’s pressure on every team to name their team on a Wednesday and it goes to press (for the programme) when you mightn’t even pick a team until Friday. That was the case - we didn’t pick the team until Friday," he explained.