Lynskey's minor hurlers do the business in style

28 July 2018; The Galway squad prior to the Electric Ireland GAA Hurling All-Ireland Minor Championship semi-final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. 
Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

28 July 2018; The Galway squad prior to the Electric Ireland GAA Hurling All-Ireland Minor Championship semi-final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Jeffrey Lynskey has performed a really super job as Galway minor manager over the past few years, and this year's charges reaffirmed that last weekend when they produced a superb second-half display to see off Kilkenny by 0-21 to 0-14. In doing so they clinched the county's 12th All-Ireland minor title, and the third under Lynskey's guidance in the past four years.

Galway found themselves two points behind early in the second half, but with some fresh legs introduced, they really knuckled down and outscored the Cats by 0-11 to 0-2 to win with plenty to spare.

Galway also defeated Richie Mulrooney's side by seven points when the sides met in the All-Ireland quarter-final group stage (1-21 to 2-11 ) on July 15 and were favourites in many people's view to collect the title last weekend.

Kilkenny started much brighter in Croke Park, but they shot eight first-half wides which did not help their cause.

Galway's ace free taker Donal O'Shea shot 10 points (6fs, 1 65, 1 pen ), and was a key man in the team's forward unit. Corner forward Dean Reilly chipped in with 0-3 and was a constant threat up front.

Number 10 Diarmuid Kilcommins had a super second half and whipped over two beauties from distance out on the right wing - as well as being hauled down for a 21 yard free after a great run for O'Shea to slip the sliotar over the bar.

Galway really got motoring in the second half when they ran their bench with Colm Cunningham (Maigh Cuilinn ) making an instant impression around the middle with a sweet point and some nice link play.

Mountbellew's Seán McDonagh also made a big impact with two good points from play in the last quarter.

Full-back Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe ) had a powerful game as did his captain and centre back Seán Cleary (Castlegar ) who hurled all in front of him. His half back line colleagues Shane Quirke and Evan Duggan also put in a big 60 minutes and were solid on the wings.

Hard work wins All-Irelands

Understandably Lynskey and his selectors, Kenneth Burke, Nigel Murray and Aidan Ryan, were delighted with the team's second-half performance.

Having started out in January, Lynskey says the players worked incredibly hard over the past few months.

"We had 70-something pitch sessions, 40 gym sessions. That's how much we wanted it this year. There is no secret to it, it's hard work."

Lynskey, from Liam Mellows club and a teacher at Galway Community College, knew he had a special bunch of players on his hands when they braved the snow to train on Ballyloughane Beach during the really bad weather spell last March.

"We couldn't get a pitch. I brought my two kids up to my own club and I got three shovels to try to move the snow off the Astroturf.

"After about 25 minutes one of them bolted, he said 'Dad, this is lunacy'. So what we did was I looked out and the tide was gone out in Ballyloughane Beach. We had 54 lads there and we trained for an hour and a half.

"If you're looking for one moment that encapsulates the whole year, it was that. It was the character they showed. It was minus four or five out, and the lads came out, they were falling into puddles of salt water, sea weed, you name it, the whole lot and they didn't shirk it.

"Because at the end of the day they wanted to get to Croke Park, to wear a Galway jersey and play for their county."

And they did so with aplomb.

Galway: Patrick Rabbitte (Athenry ), Michael Flynn (Ballygar ), Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe ), Oisin Salmon (Clarinbridge ), Shane Quirke (Athenry ), Sean Neary (Cpt ) (Castlegar ), Evan Duggan (0-1 ) (St. Thomas' ), Jason O'Donoghue (Gort ), Oisin Flannery (St Thomas' ) (0-1 ); Diarmuid Kilcommins (0-2 ) (Annaghdown ), Oisin Flannery (0-1 ) (Padraig Pearses ), Adam Brett (Killimordaly ), Dean Reilly (0-3 ) (Pádraig Pearses ), Donal O'Shea 0-10 (6fs, 1 65, 1 pen ) (Salthill ), Niall Collins (Cappataggle ). Subs : Colm Cunningham (0-1 ) (Maigh Cuilinn ) for O'Donoghue (33 ), Connell Keane (Beagh ) for Brett (34 ), Sean McDonagh (0-2 ) (Mountbellew ) for Flannery (Padraig Pearses ) (41 ), Ian McGlynn (Kilconieron ) for Flannery (St Thomas' ) (45 ), Keelan Creaven (Sylane ) for Collins (49 ).

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