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David Collins was a key figure as Liam Mellows captured the Galway SHC title in 2017.
David Collins was a key figure as Liam Mellows captured the Galway SHC title in 2017.

Mellows competing again in the west

By Cian O'Connell

Having finally returned to the summit of the Galway hurling game for the first time in 47 years, David Collins acknowledges that Liam Mellows were eager to remain serious contenders Corribside.

Mellows entered the current campaign with a sense of mission with Louis Mulqueen’s coaching and positive thinking assisting the progressive club significantly according to Collins.

“I think Louis has brought so much of it and it is belief really,” Collins says. “We believe that we are a good team, that we can put it up to the top teams in Galway hurling.

“Obviously we didn't meet Thomas' last year and it is the one team you look at going these lads were All Ireland champions, they have been county champions before. Then when you look back we played them in a relegation battle in 2014, the two teams have come on so much.

“It is going to be a great game, but if you look at their forward line and what they did to us already this year winning by nine points we have to learn from the Cappataggle game, bring the intensity that we got there, bring it to the County Final again.”

While the county title was celebrated Mellows continue to graft off the field too with the splendid grounds at Ballyloughane being developed further and allied to a thriving juvenile sector. “Absolutely, it is phenomenal,” Collins remarks about how Mellows are flourishing. “The tone has been set by our executive committee - Brian Keville, Gordon (Crowley), and these lads.

“They are bringing hurling to the schools, bringing all the kids back into Mellows and actually driving the club on be it by fundraising and developing the fields we actually have here.

“There is a new pitch going in, I will probably never see it, but it will be there for future generations. That is what the club is all about. It is very progressive.

David Collins speaking after capturing Liam Mellows' first Galway SHC title since 1970 at Pearse Stadium last year.
David Collins speaking after capturing Liam Mellows' first Galway SHC title since 1970 at Pearse Stadium last year.

“When you do that at the top level you make things easier for the players to go out to play the game. That belief from them is instilled in us and the belief Louis brought to it really helps drive the team forward. It helps as an individual if he is confident in me, our young lads believe in it.”

St Thomas’ bring a formidable and a team studded with accomplished performers to Salthill on Sunday, but Collins is adamant about the culture that is being cultivated by Mellows. “There definitely is a spirit in Mellows,” Collins adds. “The core of this was set in stone from the Under 16s, minor, and Under 21s when the nucleus of this team were young lads.

“They had lost every County Final on the way up until last year. Then to make a statement like they did last year was incredible. They want to win everything that they can get their hands on. They realise that it is not as easy as just going out to win a County Final.

“It is about workrate and the attitude you have to have to win that. They have learned and I've learned so much since I finished inter-county hurling.

“Club players enjoy the game, they love it and it gets to a stage at inter-county level where it gets too serious. It is so much in your face that club hurling is a joy to play. It is a whole family unit, it is brilliant.

“Every evening here Olga O'Sullivan makes us food, soup and sandwiches, and everyone hangs around. It is the craic and the chats I will miss when I finish up because the buzz with the lads is brilliant. What would you do without it? I don't know.

“Soon enough I will be home with a young child hopefully and it will be a different story, but I'm just looking forward to Sunday as a game of hurling and as a spectacle. The atmosphere that was there last year with the band and the parade was massive.”

Mellows watched and wondered for long enough that they are proud to be back sampling such fare again. Collins’ role in the rejuvenation shouldn’t be underestimated.