David Collins might have chosen to step aside just as Galway are now favoured to win a first All-Ireland in 29 years but he is enjoying the watching brief.
Although, that’s not to say it has taken some getting used to and that will continue to be the case.
“Mentally, you’re still in the zone of wanting to be the elite athlete that you were, and physically as well. Then when you see the boys on the field you just want to be out there, that kind of a way. Now, the legs won’t go there and you’ve put enough on the line.”
What he has seen of Galway this year winning a Division 1 title and disposing of Dublin in their Leinster quarter-final fills him with pride.
“Yeah, you look at them and you go, ‘class’,” he smiles ahead of their semi-final against Offaly this Sunday.
“The boys in there are just class, they’re fantastic young lads and they’ve really set out their stall now.
“Obviously, Offaly this weekend coming is going to be a really important game for them to get over and then build on that.
“Micheál’s [Donoghue] attitude is just ‘next game, next game, next game’, and that’s just all he focuses on. So, yeah, I hope to God they win it and I hope to God they go far. Of course, I’d be jealous, but you’ve made your bed so lie in it.”
What appeals to Collins most about Galway is their workrate. “You can see it in them, they were hungry for breaking balls, they were hungry for tackles in their faces. Obviously, they’ll meet an onslaught from Offaly the next day and everyone is talking about a Wexford-Galway final, but don’t lose perspective.
“They are an incredible bunch of athletes. You can see their physical strength, and that’s all been laid down in the last four or five years really in terms of conditioning and it’s really come to fruition now. The likes of Cathal Mannion back and Joe Canning at centre-forward really commanding the game. Just exceptional.”
But with Tipperary and Kilkenny being dumped into the qualifiers, does he foresee a new era for hurling? “I hope so, I hope so,” he opens before adding, “Everyone is feeding off the energy that the likes of Wexford have brought to it. So I wouldn’t be saying Galway are there or thereabouts yet, they have to get over Offaly at the weekend.
“But, yeah, you look at Tipperary, I don’t think they’ve performed this year yet really. Kilkenny, you look at the mistakes they made, the points and goals that were missed, they’re not going to go away anytime soon. It’s going to be a serious championship.”
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