Galway u-21 team captain Colin Forde has not had too much time this week to dwell on Sunday’s wonderful win as he rapidly switched his attention to his third year physiotherapy exams in UCD.
The triumph last weekend marked his last outing in the underage intercounty ranks and he leaves with a fine record in those grades - having also won an All-Ireland minor medal in 2007 alongside u-21 teammates Conor Doherty, Tomás Fahy and Joe Joe Greaney and established senior player Paul Conroy, who was team captain on that minor team four years ago that beat Derry in the final.
The experience of playing and winning a minor All-Ireland title in Croke Park back in 2007 was of huge benefit to those players last Sunday.
"We came to the conclusion that we’d be more confident than Cavan. I don’t mean that as any disrespect, but we’d been here before. The build up for us was very low key. The minor was probably a bigger deal at the time and this game didn’t overwhelm anyone."
Replicating those feats at senior level in the next few seasons will be difficult against Cork, Kerry and Tyrone at national level and with Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo very strong and potent in Connacht, but Forde believes he and some of his teammates are ready to have a stab at a higher grade.
"There are three of us in the senior panel at the moment; Danny Cummins, Jonathan Duane and me. If you look back at the 2005 and 2002 u-21-winning teams an enormous amount of players have made the step up.
"That is extraordinary because underage success often doesn’t translate into senior players. I am thinking of Gary Sice, Cormac Bane, Michael Meehan and Sean Armstrong. We still have a lot to do and a lot to learn. But we are confident that we will be representing Galway."
Forde believes there are plenty of grounds for optimism in Galway football.
"There have always been good footballers in Galway and Sunday proved that. We finished the league strongly at senior level and I have to say it is the most welcoming atmosphere I have ever experienced."
Forde, along with Tomas Fahy and Michael Boyle, has seen first-hand what is required to make that transition to senior level.
Growing up in Killererin they were tutored in football by stalwarts such as the Joyces (Pádraic, Tommie and Nicky ) and Alan Keane.
"We are the second smallest parish in Galway, but we punch above our weight at senior level and have won four county titles in the last 10 years. We are fortunate we have had brilliant, inspirational figures when we were growing up. You couldn’t ask for better mentors."