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'These boys have been kicked every time they lost, they got lacerated'

Micheal Donoghue praised his side’s resilience and character after falling short of the title in 2012 and 2015.

Image: Tommy Dickson; ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson/INPHO

GALWAY MANAGER MICHEAL DONOGHUE praised his team’s resilience and character in spite of recent disappointments after their three-point victory over Waterford at GAA HQ gave them a first All-Ireland senior hurling title in 29 years.

The Tribesmen suffered defeats in both the 2012 and 2015 deciders but Donoghue, who took after just months after the latter loss to Kilkenny, said that despite a barrage of criticism for falling short of the line, nobody took the time to praise Galway’s determination.

“The last couple of years have been really hard and these boys have been kicked every time they lost – in 2012, in 2015,” he told RTE immediately after the full-time whistle at Croke Park.

“More than any other team they got lacerated but nobody ever mentioned the resilience these boys have and the character they have because they came bouncing back. They knew coming today they were going to do the job. We were going to win.

We just said, ‘Enough is enough’.”

Michael Donoghue celebrates with the Liam MacCarthy cup Source: Cathal Noonan; ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Echoing the sentiment expressed by team captain David Burke in his acceptance speech, Donoghue also took time to remember the players and managers that put in the slog and the toil over the previous three decades.

“When we came in two years ago we knew we were dealing with a savage team,” he said.

“From any manager’s point of view, you just want the boys to come in and take ownership of it. The last year, all the credit has to go to the players because they’ve been fantastic. I’m a fella who’s privileged in this position. But it’s all the managers that have gone before me who nurtured these players and developed them as well. To all the players who have gone through and worn that jersey as well – this is for them as much as the boys here today.

This is what dreams are made of.”

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It was an emotional day for the county as the late Tony Keady, the former Hurler of the Year and a standout member of the Galway team that won back-to-back championships in 1987 and 1988, was remembered throughout.

Keady passed away last month and was firmly in the thoughts of the entire Galway group before, during and after the final.

“We had the honour and privilege of bringing Tony Keady’s family into training with us last week and their strength and resilience to push on…” O’Donoghue said before trailing off.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to have them here today with us.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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