Joe Canning admitted that Kilkenny’s second-half comeback had the Tribesmen ‘worried’ after his side secured back-to-back Leinster Hurling Championships.
Galway appeared to be coasting to victory in Thurles and led by 12 points shortly before the interval, but saw that lead cut to a solitary point midway through the second-half after substitute Richie Hogan goaled for Kilkenny.
Canning pointed to the attitude within the Galway team as they held off the Kilkenny charge to finish strongly in the replay.
"It just shows the different character in this group that we powered on again and finished strongly," he told RTÉ Sport.
"You’re always worried when you’re playing Kilkenny there’s no point saying otherwise. They have that history and they’re a great team, so we knew that it was going to be a battle.
Lads like Joe Cooney don’t get the credit they deserve. He’s one of the most important guys on our team for work-rate alone
"We’ve been in those situations in past years and Kilkenny have come out on top so we knew the scoreline wasn’t a reflection of what it was going to be. Look they came back with two goals in the second-half and we were a little bit worried," the 2017 Player of the Year continued.
The Portumna man was also keen to praise his side’s work-rate, signalling out in particular Joseph Cooney.
Joe Canning says that there is a different character in this Galway team, as they showed to hold off Kilkenny in a pulsating Leinster final replay. #RTEGAA pic.twitter.com/p6aBW4acRb— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) July 8, 2018
"Lads like Joe Cooney don’t get the credit they deserve. He’s one of the most important guys on our team for work-rate alone. It’s a huge thing we’ve set standards on over the last two years and we didn’t live up to it at stages today but at different points we did."
Canning’s Galway now face a three-week break before an All-Ireland semi-final on the final weekend of July.