Well done to Mattie Murphy for the invaluable commitment and service he has given to Galway hurling for the past few decades. To manage your county to five All-Ireland minor titles is a magnificent achievement and hopefully there will be more to come. He was very astute and cool on the sideline again last weekend and he made some terrific tactical adjustments in the last quarter when things needed to be freshened up. It is hard to beat experience, especially in the cauldron of Croke Park on All-Ireland final day and Murphy has it in spades now.
After the game he described the win as “the sweetest of them all”.
“They’re all sweet, but this is exceptionally sweet,” smiled Murphy. “We had one hand on the cup last year and it was stolen from us.”
In 2009, there was to be no “grand larceny”, and the better team led from pillar to post.
Hopefully a good gang of these hurlers will go on and replicate their minor achievements in the u-21 and senior grades over the next 10 years.
That won’t be easy though and a word of caution should be voiced.
Kilkenny manager Richie Mulrooney made some fine points about his county’s set-up after their defeat. He was looking at the bigger picture and pointed out that just four of their senior team that did the four in a row last weekend held All-Ireland minor medals.
“I’d be confident that in time a lot of our minors will be future Kilkenny senior stars and there’ll be a number of them back in this grade next year too,” he added.
Last Sunday was a glorious day for the Galway minors of 2009 and their successful and experienced management team. Mattie has produced a lot of outstanding minors, although he is on record as saying that this is the best minor team he has ever had.
The secret now for Galway hurling is to cultivate and develop these young men and those who tasted defeat last year at minor and in the u-21 grade this year, building them into a powerful force that can win bigger prizes in the future.
It would be magnificent if last Sunday was only a precursor of greater things ahead for this fantastic bunch of young Galway men.