When he interviewed for the job of minor hurling manager last year, Jeffery Lynskey was told "this was probably the worst minor team ever". Roll on nine months and Lynskey's minor marvels were climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to claim Galway's 10th All Ireland minor title.
It is a good thing Lynksey never believed that line. Passionate about Galway hurling, Lynskey admitted to 'drinking in' the closing minutes when the game was wrapped up.
"You could enjoy the last two or three minutes. When we got the final goal, it was a great place to be. Tipp are a serious outfit, but they tired in the last 15 minutes.
"They had a hard task because of their dual players, I think they have nine in total. We were conscious of that when we went at them, especially with around 15 minutes to go, that the tiredness from last week would sap them mentally. I think that came to fruition in the second half."
In a total team performance, Lynskey was most pleased with the impact of his subs.
"Liam Forde came on to get a critical goal off his left hand side. The subs again, as per normal, really showed what they can do. Mikey [Lynch] came on, burst on to the ball at the end to score a great goal. It was near enough to a total performance. I am not happy that we conceded a goal. We nearly went through without conceding a goal, but that is being greedy."
"I thought the backs were superb, Shane Bannon, Jack Fitz, and Ciaran O’Connor were unbelievable. Shane Bannon came out with ball after ball."
And of his forwards, " Tom [Monaghan] has been our mainstay during most of the games, he kept us in it against Kilkenny the first day. Brian [Concannon] had not shown his potential until this, and even Evan [Niland]. They worked ferociously hard."
The key to this success was down to preparation, says Lynskey.
"I was conscious that it was very important to gel the players quickly. The journeys to Croke Park were invaluable. We brought them to the Leinster final as a group to get to know each other. We had a barbecue in Salthill one day, we had a visualisation and yoga session, all together as a group, trying to break down the barriers. In a college situation they are competing against each other most of the time. It is the same with the clubs so when they come in with Galway they have to realise they are now one. That has been the case in all the games we have played."
Getting the little gains each day is what got them over the line he believes. " We are about continuous improvement and marginal gains. We want every player valued and respected. There is a mutual respect between the manager and the players. We work off the total performance model built by Pat Daly. I am 10 to12 years working as a coach and educational tutor, and that is what we are trying to put into play - it has brought us an All Ireland."
Lynskey hopes to continue developing players to help Galway bring the Liam McCarthy home in the near future.
"I was listening to Sylvie [Linnane] on Up for the Match on Saturday night. He said you’re not a good manager until you win an All Ireland. At that stage I thought one thing I didn’t want was to be in a losing dressing room. You can either be driven by failure or the will to win. I don't want to fail. We have structures in place, we will focus on performance. In October or November we will focus on what we have coming in."
Seeing Galway get over the line at senior grade is what matters at the end, he says.
"We won, well and good, but the senior game is key for hurling in Galway. None of the lads in there have witnessed Galway win a senior All Ireland."