In the three years he has been in charge of the Galway minor hurlers, Jeffrey Lynskey has guided two different groups of young Tribesmen to the top of the game at their level.
And Last Sunday’s victory over Cork was steeped in team work and belief in the group, the Liam Mellows man said.
“We said coming up, we needed to put in a performance and I used a baton with them. We said at different stages we’re going to get hit and hit hard, and at different stages each one of them is going to have to pick up that baton and carry it for the rest of the team. That’s teamship and leadership, and that’s what they did.”
Conceding a goal after 10 seconds was not part of the plan, but he was delighted with the way his side reacted.
“Yeah they are minor, they are going to get knocks along the way. You’re going to have to prepare them for that. Darren [Morrissey] probably switched off on that one ball. But they reacted very, very well. They were three down at half-time, came back out and went five up, and you know the game ebbed and flowed. I thought it was a good quality game and great scores both sides.”
Although three points down at the break, they were ready to drive on in the second half.
“Yeah, still in it - with subs to come on. We were conscious of Donal Mannion, he had a broken thumb and got an injection and played on, and Donnie, for me in fairness, he was probably the player of the match. We told them at half-time that it wasn’t up to scratch. The blocks-hooks, but I just thought when the Galway crowd came in, they got to a different level regarding the aggression and tackling.”
With Cork chasing the game late on - they had a goal disallowed for a square ball - having suffered Lynskey was happy to get that bit of luck on Sunday, “That was a square ball. I was there in 1995 as a minor in Thurles and we scored a goal very similar to that. So do you know what, you take a blow 20 something years ago, and we got a bit of luck today.”
As for claiming two wins in three years, it is a great record for Lynskey, but he has had his ups and downs along the way.
“Not bad, but it’s hard work. This time last year we were getting pilloried in the county for conceding seven goals in Croke Park. I took it on the chin and we had a long, hard, winter. We brought these lads back early, I’d say we did 130 or 140 sessions with them, gym-wise and hurling, the whole lot. They’ve improved immensely.”