Liam Sammon

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Liam Sammon
Personal information
Irish name Liam Ó Bradáin
Sport Gaelic Football
Position Centre Forward
Born 1946
Galway, Ireland
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Occupation P.E. Teacher
Club(s)
Years Club
1965–1978
1979–1986
Father Griffins
Salthill-Knocknacarra
Club titles
Galway titles 4
Connacht titles 2
Inter-county(ies)
Years County Apps (scores)
1966–1979 Galway 34 (6-35)
Inter-county titles
Connacht titles 7
All-Irelands 1
NFL 0
All Stars 3

Liam Sammon (born 1946 in Galway) is a former Irish Gaelic football manager and former player. He played football with his local clubs Father Griffins and Salthill-Knocknacarra and was a member of the Galway senior inter-county team from 1966 until 1979. Sammon later served as manager of the Galway senior inter-county team from 2007 until 2009.

Playing career[edit]

Minor and under-21[edit]

Sammon first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Galway minor football team in the early 1960s. It was an unsuccessful period for 'the Tribesmen' as arch-rivals Mayo dominated the provincial series of games.

Sammon later progressed onto the Galway under-21 football team where success was also a rarity. In 1965 he lined out in the provincial under-21 decider with Mayo providing the opposition. An exciting game developed over the cours eof the hour. At the final whistle Galway recorded a narrow 3–9 to 1–13 victory and Sammon collected a Connacht under-21 title. His side were defeated in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final.

Senior[edit]

Sammon joined the Galway senior inter-county team as a nineteen-year-old in 1966. That year the team set out to make history by winning a third consecutive All-Ireland title in succession. After booking their place in the Connacht decider, Mayo gave them a scare. In a tight match Galway secured a 0–12 to 1–8 victory and a first Connacht senior winners' medal. The westerners only had two points to spare over Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final, reaching their fourth consecutive championship final,[1] this time with Meath providing the opposition. It was Sammon's first championship decider as the fortunes of the two counties contrasted greatly. Galway were looking for a third All-Ireland title in-a-row, while Meath were looking for their third All-Ireland title ever. In a disappointing game Galway's Mattie McDonagh scored the only goal when a long clearance found him unmarked at the edge of the Meath square. At half-time Meath trailed by 1–6 to 0–1. They fought back after the interval; however, Galway won their three-in-a-row by 1–10 to 0–7.[2] It was Sammon's first All-Ireland winners' medal.

Galway failed to achieve four-in-a-row as Sammon's side were defeated in the early stages of the provincial championship in 1967. The team regrouped and qualified for the provincial decider again in 1968. Reigning champions Mayo were the opponents and a tough game developed between the closest of neighbours and the greatest of rivals. At the full-time whistle Galway were the champions by 2–10 to 2–9 and Sammons added a second provincial winners' medal to his collection. There would be no subsequent All-Ireland final appearance as soon-to-be champions Down narrowly defeated Galway in the semi-final.

In 1969 Galway exited the championship at the hands of Mayo in the Connacht final after a draw and a replay. Sammon's side was back in the provincial final again in 1970, this time with Roscommon providing the opposition in the first eighty-minute decider. 'The Rossies' were no match for Sammon's side as Galway won comfortably by 2–15 to 1–8. There was little joy in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final as Meath put Galway to the sword by 0–15 to 0–11.

In 1971 Sammon was honoured by being appointed captain of the Galway team. The westerners retained their Connacht title that year but not without some difficulty. Sligo were the opponents and held Sammon's side to a 2–15 apiece draw. The replay was a more conclusive affair but only just. The game looked to be heading for another replay, however, Galway pulled it out of the fire and secured a narrow 1–17 to 3–10 victory. It was Sammon's fourth Connacht winners' medal. A second All-Ireland final appearance beckoned with Offaly lining out in opposition. An exciting and close game developed over the course of the eighty minutes. A Murt Connor goal gave Offaly a lead; however, Galway's Séamus Leyden scored an equalising goal almost immediately. Offaly tacked on three more points to secure a 1–14 to 2–8 win and a famous first All-Ireland title. In spite of this defeat Sammon was later included on the very first GAA All-Star team.

Galway surrendered their provincial title at an early stage in 1972, however, Sammon was appointed captain again in 1973. That year his side faced Mayo in the Connacht decider. A high-scoring 1–17 to 2–12 score line gave Galway the win and gave Sammon a fifth Connacht title. After an absence of seven years the westerners were back in the All-Ireland final. Cork provided the opposition and a classic game of football developed. Jimmy Barry-Murphy scored the first of his two goals after just two minutes to give Cork the initiative. Jimmy Barrett scored the third of Cork's goals as a tally of 2–13 was not enough to save Sammon's side. A seven-point deficit resulted in another All-Ireland final defeat for Sammon. A second All-Star award quickly followed.

In 1974 Galway retained their Connacht title. A 2–14 to 0–8 trouncing of Roscommon gave Sammon his sixth provincial winners' medal. For the second year in succession and for the third time in four years, Galway lined out in the All-Ireland championship decider. Dublin were the opponents on that occasion. The men from the west took a 1–4 to 0–5 lead at half-time, however, the real turning point of the game came in the 52nd minute. Galway were awarded a penalty which Sammon stepped up to take. Goalkeeper Paddy Cullen made no mistake and saved the shot. 'The Dub's' later went on to take the lead as Galway collapsed. A 0–14 to 1–6 score line resulted in a demoralising third All-Ireland defeat for Sammon.

An early exit from the championship was Galway's lot in 1975, however, the team bounced back in 1976. A 1–8 apiece draw was the result of the Connacht final against Roscommon. The replay was far more conclusive with Sammon collecting a seventh provincial winners' medal after a 1–14 to 0–9 victory. The Galway revival was short-lived as Sammon's side were subsequently defeated by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

The end of the 1970s belonged to Roscommon in the provincial championship. Back-to-back Connacht final defeats in 1977 and 1978 were followed by an early exit from the championship in 1979. This defeat brought Sammon's inter-county career to an end.

Managerial career[edit]

2008 Championship[edit]

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship 2008

In September 2007, Sammon was confirmed as the new Galway senior football boss,[3] receiving a three-year term and succeeding Peter Ford in the hot seat. His appointment meant that Galway had a native in charge of their premier football team for the first time in almost 10 years. Sammon is the second oldest inter-county manager on the scene at the moment after Mick O'Dwyer. Sammon's backroom team includes former Galway defender Richie Fahey, Dunmore McHales Tom Ryder and another former county player, Jimmy O'Dea, of Tuam Stars.

On 19 May 2008, Galway won Connacht Senior Football Championship first round clash against Roscommon at Pearse Stadium by a comfortable 2–16 to 0–06 scoreline.[4] Sammon said "I didn't think we would win by so much. I would have settled for one or two points, I thought that's how close it would be." after the match. Their semi-final clash against Leitrim also at Pearse Stadium, saw Galway win by 2–14 to 1–13.[5] Sammon wasn't entirely satisfied with Galway's performance and felt there was plenty of room for improvement ahead of the Connacht final against Mayo. "Goals are so important and they win games. We were fortunate when we got two and were disappointed that we gave one away. We were giving away goals in the early away goals in the early rounds of the league and we worked on stopping that, so we're not happy."

On 13 July 2008, Galway won their 44th Connacht SFC after beating Mayo by 2–12 to 1–14 in a provincial decider at McHale Park.[6] Sammon warmly greeted the victory after the final. "Any time you can win, it certainly stands to you, particularly down here in Castlebar. It is a very difficult places to win in," he said.

In the quarter-finals, Galway played reigning All-Ireland Champions Kerry. A spirited performance from the Tribesmen was not enough as Kerry won by 5 points, 1–21 to 1–16. Sammon said after the match, "Kerry were brilliant today. They just proved what a great team they are. Any team that is going for three-in-a-row deserves the respect and plaudits that they get. Looking back, I think that it has been a successful year for Galway as we brought on a number of young players. I felt at one stage when we got the goal that if we had pressed forward and gotten a point or two more, we might have gone ahead. But that is the sign of a great team – any time they are under pressure that they are able to come back and score". In his assessment of Galways season, he added "Looking back, I think that it has been a successful year for Galway as we brought on a number of young players."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-final". GAA info. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final". GAA info. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Sammon confirmed as Manager". Connacht Tribune. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Galway 2–16 Roscommon 0–06". RTÉ.ie. 18 May 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Galway 2–14 Leitrim 1–13". RTÉ.ie. 15 June 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Galway win classic Connacht final". GAA info. 13 July 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Galway boss Sammon proud of his players after epic encounter". Galway Independent. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Galway Senior Football Captain
1971
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Galway Senior Football Captain
1973
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Peter Ford
Galway Senior Football Manager
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Joe Kernan