Looking up to Joe Canning, going to college with Luke Meade and being coached by Jamie Wall

It’s been a quick rise for young Galway hurler Thomas Monaghan but he’s loving every minute.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THOMAS MONAGHAN’S RISE up the Galway hurling ranks has been steady and swift.

He’s picked up silverware with impressive regularity over the past few years and it bodes well for the Galway senior camp.

In 2015 the forward led the Tribesmen to an All-Ireland minor hurling title, while he secured a Fitzgibbon Cup title with Mary Immaculate College earlier this year.

Monaghan was called up to the Galway senior set-up at the start of 2017 by Micheal Donoghue and was a late substitute in the recent league final victory over Tipperary.

The forward admits it was a enjoyable experience to link up with players he looked up to as a youngster.

“It’s brilliant like,” he said. “Getting to training with like Joe Canning and Conor Cooney and all these lads it’s just a fantastic experience. I suppose when you’re growing up you’d be getting these lads autographs, going to watch them in matches and shouting for them.

“It’s kind of a surreal experience then when you actually get to train and play with them. It’s a dream come true you know.

“It is a dream come true when you get in there but you have to make your own name then as well and hopefully I’ll do that to the best of my ability.”

Monaghan is in good hands at Mary I as he continues to develop as a hurler. Cork star Luke Meade is a classmate, while he worked closely under the guidance of former Rebels footballer and hurler Jamie Wall in their Fitzgibbon-winning campaign.

“I’d have been on the extended panel last year, so I was kind of more on the outskirts of it last year but it was great to actually be involved this year and playing in it, and winning it.

2017 Bord Gáis Energy U21 Hurling Championship Launch Galway hurler Thomas Monaghan Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

“It was a great experience we really gelled well together as a group and bonded together and I think a lot of that is down to the work Jamie Wall did with us.

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“We would have started training last October and Jamie was in constant contact with us as to what we were doing with our clubs or pre-season with the county. He’s just a fantastic character to have, do you know just an inspirational character to have around.

Thomas Monaghan Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“It’s a credit to see like he was obviously a great sportsman himself but it’s just brilliant now that he’s passing it on in the college to lads like us. As he said before, it’s a great quote of his, ‘you never truly leave Mary I’ and I think Jamie won’t be leaving us for now anyway he’s really enjoying coaching us and you know seeing us develop.

“Luke Meade was telling me about his matches and we’re in the same class like so we had good experience of discussing the different matches.”

Galway open their championship campaign with a trip to Tullamore to face Dublin on Sunday and hopes are high in the county that they can deliver a first All-Ireland since 1988.

“The league is the league at the end of the day,” says Monaghan. “It’s just great to get competitive matches coming into the championship more so than anything else. The championship is what we set our eyes on from the start.

“The 28th of May against Dublin is what we’ve been talking about. While it’s great to win the league the main thing was just to get the competitive matches before heading into the championship.

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Kevin O'Brien

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