Watch: 'We were a tad off and that's down to Limerick' - Galway manager Michéal Donoghue magnanimous in defeat
Galway's quest to emulate the team of 1988-89 and retain the Liam MacCarthy trophy fell agonisingly short but manager Michéal Donoghue accepted that they were second best to Limerick today.
His side looked dead and buried when Shane Dowling's goal put eight in it with three minutes of normal time remaining but they summoned one last effort and goals from Conor Whelan and Joe Canning brought them back to within a point but Canning's last-gasp free dropped short and they relinquished their crown.
A draw would have been harsh on John Kiely's side as they were in the ascendancy for most of the game and Donoghue was quick to congratulate the Treaty men on their famous win.
"We're bitterly disappointed. We just didn't get into the game but you have to give Limerick huge credit. They started really well and were dominant for long periods," he told RTE Sport.
"I think we came back into it in the second half but they got the crucial scores at the right time and the finish line probably came too quick for us.
"We weren't on it. I can be no more prouder of the lads, they fought until the end. We were a puck of the ball from getting a draw, they died with their boots on and I couldn't have asked for any more.
They fought to the bitter end. You can't take anything away from Limerick, today is their day nd congratulations to them. I hope they enjoy it.
Asked whether being brought to replays against Kilkenny in the Leinster final and Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final had affected his charges, he added: "We're not going to make any excuses. We were exactly where we wanted to be and you have to perform and we were probably a tad off it and that's probably down to Limerick.
"They came out and started well and got the big scores when it counted and congratulation to them."