Galway 4-13 Tipperary 1-16: Jeffrey Lynskey was told last December when he interviewed for the position of county minor manager that he would be taking charge of one of the worst Galway teams in recent decades.
Lynskey, basking in the glow of the county’s 10th All-Ireland crown shortly before 3pm yesterday, refused to name the County Board official who had been so damning in his assessment of this batch of players.
He was satisfied simply to have proven the doubters wrong.
Untested heading into the Limerick clash and outsiders for both of their semi-final games against Kilkenny, the young Tribesmen struck three second-half goals against final favourites Tipperary to round out an impressive summer of defiance.
“I did the interview and one of the officials said it was probably the worst team ever,” revealed Lynskey.
“You have to have a thick neck [in management] and you use it to motivate yourself. I was listening to Sylvie [Linnane] on RTÉ on Saturday night. He said you are not a good manager until you win an All-Ireland.
“The other thing I didn’t want was to be in a losing dressing-room in Croke Park. I would say it is an awful place to be.
“You can either be driven on by failure or the will to win. I am driven on by failure, I don’t want to fail.”
Neither did his players, Galway’s unanswered 2-2 early in the second-half moving the underdogs out of reach, if not out of sight.
Deadlocked at 1-8 to 0-11 on 37 minutes, Evan Niland’s fifth free from well over 65m lit the fuse on Galway’s crucial spell of productivity.
Within a minute the westerners their second green flag of the day.
Brian Concannon put through Liam Forde and, with his first touch of the game, the Galway sub buried to the net. Another Niland free followed and Lynskey’s charges had one hand on the Irish Press Cup when Cianan Fahy rounded off a sweeping passage to bag their third major on 40 minutes.
Shane Bannon produced a superb catch on his own 40 before offloading to Jack Grealish, the midfielder carrying possession, unchallenged, through the heart of the Tipperary defence.
Fahy, having ghosted inside the cover, gratefully accepted possession and beat goalkeeper Pádraic Hayes with a low drive. 3-10 to 0-11 read the scoreline with Tipperary’s decision to man-mark Galway sweeper Seán Loftus in the second period backfiring. Holes opened up at the back and the winners clinically exploited the space.
The Galway forwards also benefited from the quality of ball arriving into the Davin End; Shane Bannon, Loftus, Jack Coyne, and Ciarán Connor were superb in both their defensive duties and in the distribution of the sliotar.
Tipperary kept plugging away and were rewarded when Tommy Nolan’s strike flew past Darragh Gilligan on 59 minutes to reduce the deficit to 3-13 to 1-14 — the first time this summer that the Galway custodian was beaten.
Gilligan redeemed himself in the subsequent action, repelling Cian Darcy’s shot and the result was wrapped up when sub Michael Lynch nabbed Galway’s fourth goal in the first minute of stoppage time.
Darragh Peters (’65) and sub Michael Connors flung over two points in quick succession for Tipperary thereafter, mere consolation.
“I am getting these players through a pathway, getting them through to a senior panel in four and five years time,” continued the winning manager. “None of these guys have seen Galway win an All-Ireland.”
The sides were level on seven occasions in the first-half and returned back down the tunnel deadlocked at 1-7 to 0-10. Two a piece from full-forward Niland (both frees) and Jack Coyne had the westerners off the mark; Lyndon Fairbrother (0-2), Tommy Nolan, and a Brian McGrath ’65 keeping their opponents on level footing.
Liam Cahill’s charges were desperately unlucky not to register the opening goal after 12 minutes, Gilligan producing a flying save to keep out Garry Ryan’s drive.
Six minutes later Galway pounced on a defensive mistake to send the umpire reaching for the green flag. Corner-back James Quigley failed to deal with a Coyne delivery, Evan Niland grabbing the poorly batted clearance and rifling home.
The Munster champions responded with quick points from Alan Tynan and Nolan to level matters for the fourth time, 1-4 to 0-7.
Niland (0-2) and Thomas Monaghan went point-for-point with a subdued Fairbrother (two frees) and Brian McGrath approaching the break, Galway speeding off into the distance upon the restart.
Scorers for Galway:
E Niland (0-9, 0-8 frees); B Concannon, C Fahy, M Lynch, L Forde (1-0 each); J Coyne (0-2); S Loftus, T Monaghan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Tipperary:
T Nolan (1-2); L Fairbrother (0-5, 0-4 frees); C Darcy (0-2 frees), B McGrath (0-1 ’65), S Quirke (0-2 each); D Peters (0-1 ’65), M Connors, A Tynan (0-1 each).
D Gilligan (Craughwell); C Connor (Kilnadeema-Leitrim), J Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly), S Bannon (Clarenbridge); C Mulry (Abbeyknockmoy), I O’Brien (Clarenbridge), A Greaney (Craughwell); J Coyne (Castlegar), J Grealish (Gort); C Fahy (Ardrahan), T Monaghan (Craughwell), F Burke (St Thomas’); B Concannon (Killimordaly), E Niland (Clarenbridge), S Loftus (Turloughmore).
L Forde (Ardrahan) for Burke (37 mins), C Salmon (Clarenbridge) for Fahy (55), C McDaid (Craughwell) for O’Brien (55), M Lynch (Kilnadeema-Leitrim) for Concannon (59), R Malone (Oranmore) for Greaney (62).
P Hayes (Ballingarry); E Heffernan (Clonoulty-Rossmore), E Moloney (Drom & Inch), J Quigley (Kildangan); K Hassett (Drom & Inch), B McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney), D Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs); L McCutcheon (Templederry Kenyons), A Tynan (Roscrea); G Ryan (Borriskeane), S Quirke (Moyle Rovers), C Darcy (Kilruane MacDonaghs); T Nolan (Drom & Inch), D Gleeson (Ballinahinch), L Fairbrother (JK Brackens).
R Mulrooney (Portroe) for McCutcheon (20 mins), J Skehan (Holycross Ballycahill) for Ryan (43), M Connors (Drom & Inch) for Fairbrother (44), S Neville (Lattin Cullen) for Gleeson (56).
P O’Dwyer (Carlow).
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