Galway boss Kevin Walsh says Dublin are by far the best team in the country and that it’s up to the chasing pack to close the gap.

Walsh watched as his side were beaten by nine points in their first All-Ireland semi-final appearance in 17 years and was left with the impression that there’s a major gulf between the Dubs and the rest.

"Dublin are going for four in-a-row for a reason," he told RTÉ Sport. "For our lads, it was great to get to a semi-final and great to get that experience, and it’s encouraging that they were competitive for a long time.

"Dublin are a quality side and the more times you can play against them, the better."

When asked whether the Boys in Blue the best going, he responded: "It looks that way at the minute. They are highly experienced, they seem to get better as the summer goes on, they have a huge panel and they know each other inside out.

"It’s up to ourselves and the other teams to close that gap - we just look at ourselves and we’re trying to close the gap to the top teams."

The Tribesmen could have no complaints about the result, but Walsh was left to ponder what-might-have-been, having seen his side squander two brilliant first-half goal chances.

Directly after Damien Comer raised his side’s first green flag, he nearly had another and then not long after that Eamonn Brannigan saw his penalty saved by Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton.

"We were two down at half-time and we probably should have been leading at half-time," Walsh noted. "Against a team like Dublin, to not put your chances away puts you under pressure.

"They got a few scores after the break and that puts you on the back foot."

Galway ended up playing Dublin because they lost their final Super 8s game to Monaghan in Salthill seven days previously.

They ensured their spot in the All-Ireland semi-final with wins in their opening two Group 1 games, but that defeat meant they finished second and had to take on the All-Ireland champions.

Walsh insists losing that game didn’t knock his side’s morale and had no effect at Croke Park against the Dubs.

"It wasn't hard (to pick them up)," he said. "It was a funny place to be having, qualified already. Most of the players couldn’t wait for that game to be over to come up and have a cut at Dublin."