Alan Tynan was the player who did most to seal Tipp’s place alongside Kildare in the last four on August 30.
However, for McKeever, it was all about the team in Tullamore, where the 2011 champions moved within touching distance of a return to the All-Ireland decider. They didn’t do themselves justice in the provincial final against Kerry and the fear of exiting the championship without ever conjuring their best form was a real driving force.
However, there’s more in the tank of this Tipp side who wasted a number of goal chances, blasted 11 wides in total and scored just three points from play in the first two thirds of the game.
There were moments of excellence, though, suggesting they can overcome Kildare and potentially enjoy a rematch with Kerry on the biggest stage of all.
Tynan’s 53rd minute goal was a case in point, a wonderful finish after a great break out of defence that few teams could have handled, let alone a Galway side in poor form.
Galway held Tipp for the first-half and trailed by just one at half-time, 0-4 to 0-3.
However, the Connacht champions were a shadow of the side that hammered Sligo in the provincial decider and went half an hour without scoring.
Smelling blood, Tipp went for the jugular and four points without reply in the third quarter moved them 0-8 to 0-3 ahead and into a winning position.
“We said all year that there was a strong performance in this team and we got it today,” said McKeever. “It would have been disappointing if we’d gone through the year without performing to our potential, because they’re a great group of lads, they’ve been together for so long and they’ve put in a huge amount of work along the way.
“People ask if it was hard to lift them after the Munster final, but it wasn’t hard at all; the lads knew we’d underperformed. It would have been different if we’d put in a performance against Kerry, but we didn’t. So we asked for one big performance from them today and we got it.”
It was a tough one for Galway to get their heads around. They scored just three times from play in the hour and one of those was from a quick free.
“We’re not happy with today but we’re very happy to win back the Connacht championship after seven years,” said Galway boss Stephen Joyce. “That represented real progress for us. We were hoping to go on a step, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
A Tynan (1-5, 2 frees, 1 45); B Martin (0-2); C English, J Kennedy, J Bergin (0-1 each).
J Daly (one free), C Marsden (two frees) (0-2 each); P McCormack, E Lee (0-1 each).
C Manton; T Lowry, J Skeehan, T Fitzgerald; E Moloney, L Fahy, D Owens; J Kennedy, T Nolan; R Peters, A Tynan, A Buckley; C English, B McGrath, B Martin.
M Kehoe for English (50), J Bergin for Peters (54), J Delahunty for Martin (58), M Connors for Buckley (59), G Whelan for Moloney (61).
R O Beolain; C Mulry, D McHugh, I Kent; S Kelly, L O Ceallaigh, J Daly; C Brady, C O Braonain; E Lee, F O Laoi, M Boyle; R Forde, P McCormack, C Marsden.
P O Domhnaill for O Laoi (13), C Ryan for Boyle (38), C McDaid for Forde (55), D Conneely for Lee (56).
M McNally (Monaghan).