Brian Hanley's speech to the Kilkenny under-20s after the game was a credit to the man 1 month ago

Brian Hanley's speech to the Kilkenny under-20s after the game was a credit to the man

After a game of twists and turns and swings ended, ultimately, in a disappointing result for Galway, Brian Hanley could easily have been in bad form for a finish.

He could easily have been rueing the five point lead his side threw away in extra-time and, in the heat of the moment, he could easily have been thinking about the harsh free that brought the game to extra-time in the first place.

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There would have been enough things to drive him demented if he went looking for them but Hanley is level-headed. He won two All-Ireland minors with this same group of players and just as they enjoyed the good days, he taught them an even more important lesson here.

These lads are just 18/19/20 years of age and as their manager, he led by example and showed them how to accept the bad days gracefully.

So there was no tongue-lashings for referees or players or anyone else, instead, Hanley went down to the Kilkenny under-20 team and congratulated them on their win. He knew that he'd just watched a tremendous game of hurling and just as he said well done to them for emerging victorious, he also said well done to his own players for playing such a huge part in it.

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After a 1-28 to 1-27 loss, his interview with TG4's Micheál Ó Domhnaill was top class.

"I think it was a credit to both teams. I don't think there was a dirty slap in the game really and what I said to ye about developing and improving at the start of the game - that's what it's about because that game will stand to both teams and do both sets of players the world of good.

"They hung on in there and to be fair to them, they deserved it for a finish. We did come back but fair play to them, I wish them luck.

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"What I said was congratulations, congratulations to both teams," he said of his speech to the Kilkenny team.

"It was a great game of hurling. They're 19/20 years of age, they're a credit to their families and clubs to come out and perform under that pressure. I said to the Kilkenny lads I wish them luck in what they're doing going forward but also off the pitch, because it's a huge world out there now at that age now, with so many obstacles to get over so I just wished them all the very best of luck."

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On the other side of the coin, Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng was delighted with his side's win. With the seniors having lost to Galway on Sunday, you got the sense from Lyng that this was a huge win for the Cats.