IT has been some rollercoaster ride for Galway minor hurling manager Jeffrey Lynskey since he took on the role in late 2014 but, in Croke Park last Sunday, he had the look of a man reinvigorated. Then again, success will do that.
Of course, this was not Lynskey’s first rodeo. He had won the Irish Press Cup in his debut year of 2015 with a superb final win over Tipperary and many would argue it was, similar to last Sunday’s triumph, a feat that had been achieved against all the odds. Perhaps, this was what made those victories in 2015 and ’17 all the sweeter.
There was also the fact that, having climbed the mountain in 2015, Lynskey’s Galway were then unceremoniously pushed off the summit when the Premier County exacted revenge by handing out a 7-12 to 2-12 drubbing to the Westerners in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. That hurt.
“This time last year we were getting pilloried in the county for conceding seven goals in Croke Park and we took it on the chin. We had a long hard winter,” admitted Lynskey. “We brought these lads back early though and I would say we did 130 to 140 sessions with them – gym wise, hurling wise, the whole lot.
“Ah look, they have improved immensely. At U-17 level, they didn’t win a match last year. However, I just thought with the U-17 competition this year – and last year’s U-16s having improved so much – I said there must be another kick in the 17-year-olds if they had improved that much (at U-16 level). In fairness to them, they have worked really, really hard.”
That work certainly paid off and it had to. Hit by two sucker-punch goals in the first quarter of the contest, it was all hands to the pump thereafter. “We said coming up that we would need to put in a performance,” continued Lynskey.
“I used a baton with them when we were in Whitehall this morning. I said ‘at different stages we are going to get hit – and we are going to get hit hard – and at different stages each one of you are going to have to pick up that baton and carry it forward’. That is leadership and that is ‘teamship’. And that is what they did.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.