‘Hats off to Kerry’

Galway manager Donal Ó Fátharta consoles forward Daniel Cox iafter losing to Kerry in the All Ireland minor final at Croke Park, Sunday. 			Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway manager Donal Ó Fátharta consoles forward Daniel Cox iafter losing to Kerry in the All Ireland minor final at Croke Park, Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway minor football team manager Donal Ó Fátharta, was gracious in defeat despite the disappointment.

“Hats off to Kerry. We knew they were a super team," he said after Kerry completed an historic “five-in-a-row” of All-Ireland titles.

Ó Fátharta and his management team has worked hard all season against some tough odds, but came up short to lose last weekend’s final by four points at Croke Park.

"We knew they were a super team. We were trying to get our guys ready for the challenge they posed. Every team is beatable, but they had a little more quality than us, all over the pitch and they had a very strong bench.

"Some of our guys played beyond where they were at the start of the year, and we are very pleased with the progress they have made. Obviously we are very disappointed. However, when you are beaten by a better team, it is easier to take.”

Galway had led by four points at half-time, but it could have been more.

“The message we told the lads all week was if we were going to take Kerry, we had to take our chances. We didn’t take them in the first-half, " said Ó Fátharta.

"Aidan Halloran was in on the side once or twice, Tinney [Eoghan Tinney] had a chance for a goal. We had a spell and then Kerry came back and got a couple of points to stay within touching distance. Even at the start of the second-half, I thought we held them out well. Kerry had a few wides and were a little bit panicky. That was the time to push on, but we couldn’t manage it.

“Our players and all the subs, who came on, worked their socks off, and we are proud of the effort they put in. We were struggling defensively with numbers and height. I thought the full-back line put in some shift, because that Kerry full-forward line is serious - They are super footballers.

"Yes, we missed chances, but Kerry were putting pressure on. You don’t get anything easy and in the second half they turned the screw on us a bit. Kerry are Kerry.”

Ó Fátharta is hopeful some of the 2018 U17 panel will make it at older levels with Galway football in the future.

“I would hope so. There are guys there with a little bit of steel. There is a championship cutting in some of these guys. I’ve seen that throughout the year and we saw it again in the final. In terms of experience, I am delighted they have gone this far. They have got the smell of it and hopefully we will see them at U20 and senior level in the future.”

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