Academy bonding pays off for minors

Last Sunday's All Ireland minor final victory over Kilkenny was rooted in all the work that has been done by coaches and players in the Galway academies over the past number of years, according to half-forward Colm Cunningham.

"It is all down to the work and development in the academies and the work the clubs and managers and coaches are putting in," said the Maigh Cuilinn number 10 of Galway's three-in-a-row success at the grade.

The hope now is that this team will go on and be as successful at u20 and senior level.

"It all starts at u14 in the academy with the coaches and the managers there, then you move into minor. The coaches we have at this level are just trying to develop you as players and people, and provide a pathway through Galway hurling to 20s and onwards."

This group of players first came together at U14 level and that was key to their success, Cunningham believes, who claimed his second minor winners' medal on Sunday.

"I've known the lads for years and we have a great bond, and that showed, especially in the second half out there. We've been doing it all year, the subs have been coming on and they have been making an impact, that is the great thing about this squad.

"To do it the second year in a row is just as sweet as last year. "

Galway's second goal was struck from Seán McDonagh's penalty after Greg Thomas was fouled just before the break. It was a key moment, swinging the game firmly in Galway's favour after they had dominated the first half.

"It was a good one to get. It set us up. They were hanging around on the scoreboard and it gave us the belief we needed."

However, nothing was safe until the end.

"Maybe, when the third goal went in - you can't really think it is done, but I was hopeful we'd finish it out"


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