'If we had ducks, they would have drowned'

No complaints from Francis Forde about Sunday's result

A dispirited Galway team after losing the All  Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final in Croke Park, Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

A dispirited Galway team after losing the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final in Croke Park, Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Selector Francis Forde says the Galway hurling squad and management team have no qualms about the result of Sunday's All-Ireland final.

The 2017 defending champions went into showpiece event of the hurling calendar as big favourites against a Limerick team looking to end a 45-year famine to bring back Liam MacCarthy to the Treaty County.

And despite a grandstand finish where Galway scored 2-2 in stoppage time, the turgid display that was produced in the first hour of the match, especially in the opening exchanges, was Tribesmen's major undoing according to Forde.

"Limerick got to the pitch of the game straightaway. I thought they outplayed us for 60 of the 70. In fairness to our boys it was their sheer doggedness and resilience got something going towards the end but we ran out of time. I think it would have been robbery if we had got something at the end because Limerick were by far the better team for the vast majority of the game."

Forde bemoaned the fact that Galway were never able to get into their rhythm which was down to poor play from the men in maroon and the work rate of the opposition.

"When you see our lads with handling errors [that would be not expected of them], we do not come to expect that. If we had ducks today they would have drowned. It was just one of those days that no matter what we tried and the boys tried everything out on field, sometimes your touch is off and you cannot find the reason for it and you have to accept that.

"Our hurling was never flowing and we were making basic errors. But it is credit to Limerick because I thought in the first half their work rate was phenomenal. Some of the turnovers we conceded were errors on our part, but at the same time there was always heat coming from a Limerick player in close proximity. They just kept the foot on our throat and took their opportunities better than us and even by halftime they had put up more wides than us. That was an indication of their dominance. We just could not get that foothold in the game. It was sheer resilience that got us close at the end but no questions, the best team won."

A common aspect of Galway's performances in the Championship this season is how they would blitz teams in the first 20 minutes and build an innings. However, the team struggled to cope with the intensity that Limerick brought from the first whistle and many commentators pointed to the number of games the Tribesmen had played during this campaign but Forde refused to use the excuse for the lethargic display.

"You could talk about that but I think that would be unfair to Limerick. We certainly will not be holding that up as an excuse. At times out there we probably looked a bit leggy and did not have the same energy that we would expect of our lads. It is very hard to pinpoint.

"I thought some of the lads, like Sean Loftus who was a lot of fresher, did really well coming in, we had others who contributed very well coming in [off the bench] but we did not handle the pressure. I am reluctant to even say that because I do not want to take anything away from Limerick."

Despite the disappointing performance and result, Forde was quick to praise the character of the team as they tried manfully to rescue the match with a brilliant last 10 minutes.

"Everyone who has ever played the game knows there are days, whether an All-Ireland final or a junior b game, when things will simply not go your way, but I think the true test of character is that lads are willing to keep fighting, stick at it and try to get some kind of foothold in the game. We did that and we could not be prouder of the lads from that point of view, but sometimes you have to tip your hat to the better team on the day."

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