Monday 18 December 2017

'Exceptional' Galway stars coming of age - Collins

Collins: “The boys in there are just class, they’re fantastic young lads and they’ve really set out their stall now.
Collins: “The boys in there are just class, they’re fantastic young lads and they’ve really set out their stall now." Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Galway captain David Collins is on the outside looking in at the Tribesmen these days but he's not denying he feels a little bit of jealousy as Micheál Donoghue's side shape up for what could be a big summer.

Collins finished up with Galway at the end of last season after a career that saw him win a Leinster title, two National Hurling Leagues and an All-Ireland U-21 crown as well as a Young Player of the Year award in 2005 and an All-Star in 2012.

And Collins, who now serves as GPA president, admits not being part of the panel has required significant change. "It's actually a huge adjustment, both mentally and physically," Collins said of life after hurling.

"Mentally, you're still in the zone of wanting to be the elite athlete that you were, and physically as well. 

"Then when you see the boys on the field you just want to be out there, that kind of a way. Now, the legs won't go there and you've put enough on the line. 

"So it's readjusting outside of it, getting back into the circle of your friends and your family and your club."

Collins has been impressed with Donoghue's men as they swept Tipperary aside to win a league title and followed that up with a convincing win over Dublin. And on Sunday they face Offaly for a place in the Leinster final.

"The boys in there are just class, they're fantastic young lads and they've really set out their stall now. Obviously Offaly this weekend coming is going to be a really important game for them to get over and then build on that," he added.

"Micheál's attitude is just 'next game, next game, next game', and that's just all he focuses on. So, yeah, I hope to God they win it and I hope to God they go far. And of course I'd be jealous, but you've made your bed so lie in it."

Collins reckons the Galway squad are at their physical peak after years of conditioning.

"They have (matured), but they just want it. You can see it in them, they were hungry for breaking balls, they were hungry for tackles in their faces.

"Obviously they'll meet an onslaught from Offaly the next day and everyone is talking about a Wexford-Galway final, so don't lose perspective. 

"They are an incredible bunch of athletes. You can see their physical strength, and that's all been laid down in the last four or five years really in terms of conditioning and it's really come to fruition now. 

"The likes of Cathal Mannion back and Joe Canning at centre-forward really commanding the game. (They are) just exceptional."

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