Galway’s strong tradition at minor hurling level has fostered a culture of expectation among the county’s present crop, according to manager Jeffrey Lynskey.
Their semi-final replay win over Kilkenny secured Galway a 14th final appearance since 1995; six providing silverware, seven providing heartache.
Previous successes, insists Lynskey, has instilled a healthy confidence among his squad.
“From the age of five or six, our dads bring us to Croke Park, and you are looking at successful minor teams year after year after year,” he remarked.
“That kind of engrains you in your approach, even in my approach as a manager. Not that you are comfortable or anything, but you know yourself when a Galway minor gets to Croke Park, they know this is their environment, this is their arena.
“There’s a sense of attachment and belonging when they go to Croke Park. They have no issue regarding performance because there is a tradition there.
“I wouldn’t say other counties are afraid of us because of our record, but they respect us. I would say respect is a huge thing for a Galway minor going forward to Croke Park because for the last 20 years they have been there so often.
“Credit here to the work Mattie (Murphy) has done and John Hardiman and these fellas.”
Bringing through to senior level successful minor players has proven one of the biggest problems for Galway in recent years, with Lynskey enlisting the services of a career guidance officer earlier this year to ensure no player would be lost through the net in 2016 and beyond.
“You see after minor in Galway, if someone did a case study on us I’d say you would come up with a multitude of reasons to why they are not developing and moving on.
“A lot of it is probably down to poor decision-making, career pathways and it could be down to poor career guidance on our part as well as a hurling committee or manager point of view.
“This year, for the first time ever, we would have had a career guidance officer for the lads to ensure that they get a correct career pathway.
“The biggest problem for us I suppose after minor is the U21 championship. They only get one game at that level and they are not going to improve or develop.
“You need a competitive structure. If you haven’t got that, they are not to bridge that gap.”
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