Galway minors gain 'sweet' revenge

Galway minor hurling manager Mattie Murphy basked in his side's glory yesterday as the Tribesmen avenged last year's All-Ireland MHC final defeat to Kilkenny.

A haul of 2-1 from team captain Richie Cummins helped Galway to an impressive 2-15 to 2-11 victory over Kilkenny at Croke Park.

In his tenth year as minor boss, Murphy was in buoyant mood as he reflected on his fifth All-Ireland success with the county.

"They're all sweet, but this is exceptionally sweet. We had one hand on the cup last year and it was stolen from us," Murphy said.

The Gort native was very impressed with the leadership shown by his players throughout the Championship and singled out Donal Fox, Brian Flaherty and the 16-year-old Shane Moloney for special praise.

"Donie Fox tore his hamstring in the Antrim game, he struggled for fitness against Waterford, but was a huge player for us in the final against Kilkenny.

"Brian Flaherty was strong at centre-back and he didn't step back from anything. Shane Moloney has been doing it at all levels.

"I wouldn't like to put any misfortune on him, but he's a rare find. In fact, he's not a find because everyone knows about him."

But Murphy proclaimed that it was far from just being about the aforementioned trio.

"Then you have Richie Cummins, an exceptionally good captain, and Davy Glennon in midfield. Davy broke his hand in the semi-final, but he wouldn't put it in plaster.

"He went around for the last few weeks with his hand held a certain way. It knitted fairly well, thankfully, and he played brilliantly for us.

"That's the kind of fella you need to win games like this. He wanted this All-Ireland so badly and he wasn't going to let anything get in his way."

Meanwhile, Kilkenny manager Richie Mulrooney felt that the game was there for the taking, but that with Galway striking two first-half goals the Cats would always have a stiff test on their hands.

"The goal right on half-time left us with a mountain to climb," he conceded.

"We brought it back to within a point and missed a free that would have put us level, but no blame will be apportioned, not at all.

"It's certainly an All-Ireland final lost in my opinion, but that's sport. Galway regrouped after a difficult situation last year and I can guarantee you we will regroup in the same manner."

He added: "The Kilkenny team that lined out in the senior final, just four of the starting line-up hold All-Ireland minor medals.

"I'd be very confident that in time a lot of our minors now will be future Kilkenny senior stars and there'll be quite a number of them back next year too.

"Some of them played really well in this final and are only 17. I'm proud of every single one of them on the panel."

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