The All-Ireland final was a great experience for everybody involved, even if the result was not the one we wanted. The build-up to the game was very enjoyable and the huge Galway support that travelled on the day made the occasion all the more special for the players.
The game itself was a mixed bag for us. We got the start we wanted and played well for long periods of the first half. However, we conceded some soft frees towards the end of the half, which reduced our lead going in at half-time. We were disappointed with our second half performance in general and had to ride our luck at times. Niall Burke got a great goal to keep us in it, Jimmy made a brilliant save and Joey nailed the final free to give us a second chance at the title.
Overall, there were huge positives to take from the game. Eleven of the 15 that started were making their first appearance in an All-Ireland Final against a very experienced team. We defended well, got some great scores from play and, most importantly, kept fighting for every ball right to the finish.
However, we conceded too many frees and lacked composure at times on the ball, both in defence and attack. We have worked hard on these areas since and training has gone very well.
Everyone is fit and competing hard for places and the mood in the camp is very good. We have a massive challenge in front of us again on Sunday. We are still playing the reigning champions with some of the most dangerous forwards in the game. They will not give up their title easily and it will be a monumental battle from start to finish. We have to improve our work-rate and intensity and be more composed when in possession. We earned ourselves a second chance the last day and everybody is determined to make it count on Sunday.
We know if the attitude is right, we will meet our targets and deliver a huge performance for 70 minutes. That’s where our focus is coming into the game and the result will take care of itself after that.