They haven’t always been fluent and twice they were taken to replay, but Micheál Donoghue feels his Galway side are in a good place ahead of the challenge of facing Limerick in this year’s All-Ireland hurling final.

Prior to the Leinster final, the current holders of the Liam MacCarthy were seen as warm-order favourites to retain their crown. And then came the draw Kilkenny on that scorching day at the start of July. The Tribesmen started the replay in a whirlwind fashion, only for the Cats to find one of their trademark lives. Donoghue’s men found enough when it mattered to retain their crown.

Against Clare in the All-Ireland semi, Galway again started with intent, building up a nine-point lead. Again, the opposition stormed back amid a welter of excitement and the sides could not be separated after extra-time.

In Thurles last Sunday, the Connacht men did just about enough to repel the Banner surge after once more flying out of the blocks.

For Donoghue, it was never going to be easy in the quest to make it back-to-back Irelands but the fact that his troops are back in the final underlines the continued progress he wants to make in the competitive world of top-flight hurling.

"When the pressure came on our boys stood up and we’re delighted to be back in an All-Ireland final," Donoghue told RTÉ Sport.

"Our strength is in the collective and that was shown in the drawn games against Kilkenny and Clare. It's been very taxing on the lads but they have showed a massive resolve and a huge desire to get through and to stay going.

"When I took this job the goal was to ensure that Galway were at the top table for as long as we can and to be as competitive as we can.

"There’s great work been done at underage and there's massive connectivity across all the grades.

"Look, there’s little between the top teams in the country and you are never going to dominate a game for 70 minutes and that's been well documented.

"Every manager will agree with that. When you're on top you try to maximise it and when the opposition are on top you try to minimize it."

Of course much of the talk in advance of the final will be about the fitness of Gearóid McInerney who picked up a calf injury against the Clare the first day and subsequently missed the replay.

The Galway boss feels the Oranmore-Maree clubman will need all the time between now and the final in order to take his place against the Shannonsiders.

"He worked really hard with the medics last week and he’s doing the best he can," Donoghue added.

"Of course you won't know the extent of a muscular injury until you test it and to bring it up to the level of the intensity of a game. It's still early for him to get to those levels. He'll need every bit of time that he has. We are fortunate that we have a great medical team that are working hard with him and he's putting in the hours trying to get back. We’ll give him every opportunity."

And so to Limerick a week on Sunday.

"It's an absolutely huge challenge," was Donoghue’s summation of John Kiely’s side.

"The connectivity and structures that are evident in Galway are also evident in Limerick.

"Their recent U21 success is transferring to the seniors. Kiely has done a brilliant job with Paul Kinnerk there as well. We knew after the league they were going to be formidable.

"The two teams that end up in the All-Ireland are the two teams that deserve to be there."

Donoghue also revealed that he has received abusive mail. This disclosure follows on from the personal abuse that Éamonn Fitzmaurice's  received prior to his resignation as Kerry manager and John Kiely stating that he gets hate mail even when his team wins.

Donoghue chooses to ignore such abuse.

"People think they have the prerogative to write and say what they want but anything like that I don't get too worked up about it," he revealed.

"I have never tried to find out who these people are."

Follow the All-Ireland hurling final on 19 August via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App, watch television coverage on The Sunday Game Live, RTÉ 2, from 2.30pm  or listen to exclusive national radio commentary on Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on The Sunday Game at 9.30pm on RTÉ2.