Conor Cooney: 'I think it is just down to self belief'
By Cian O'Connell
These are glorious times for St Thomas', who collected a fourth Galway SHC title since 2012 at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.
A brave Liam Mellows' outfit caused Thomas' significant bother, but Eanna Burke's opportunistic 51st minute goal proved to be the decisive score.
On a bitterly cold afternoon in the west Thomas' captain Conor Cooney supplied the assist with a crafty flick for Burke's important intervention.
"The ball came in and knew we had men on the edge of the square, that if we didn't win, it might break," the Galway forward recalls.
"I just stood off, and I actually got a nudge so I falling when I caught Eanna out of the side of my eye. Luckily enough, it came off.
"Another day, the hurl might get stuck in the ground or the hurl might fall flat in your face.
"It just broke. Eanna had a couple of chances earlier on, but he made no mistake with that one."
It turned out to be a critical moment in a keenly contested affair in Salthill. "Yeah, and we kinda got to grips with their puckouts after that," Cooney states.
"They found it hard to get past our half-back line for a finish. Look it, they were always dangerous. "We knew the threat they carried inside. The goal really set us up for the end of the game.
"We knew if we could just close it out that we'd have the legs and also had the lads on the line coming on that would propel us over the line. That is how it transpired."
Retaining the Galway crown mattered deeply to Thomas', who were boosted by the introduction of Fintan Burke in the second period.
In the AIB All Ireland club final loss to Ballyhale Shamrocks on St Patrick's Day Burke suffered a cruciate ligament injury, but announced his return to competitive action with two vital points.
"I think it is just down to self belief," Cooney adds.
"We have been there or thereabouts the last number of years. We know we have it in the tank, we know we have a massive panel there.
"It was put to me that the team was evolving this year. We've younger guys coming in there and you can't say you'd look to them to grind our matches, but they are guys you know that if they get the ball they will get a score for you or they'll work something.
"We are just fortunate with the panel we have that we were able to bring in the players we brought in."