The confidence gained from their 2017 All-Ireland success has stood to Galway in overcoming some tricky hurdles en route to this year's decider, according to manager Micheál Donoghue.

The Tribesmen ended a 29-year-wait for Liam MacCarthy when triumphing over Waterford last September. After topping the Leinster round-robin group in this year's campaign, Donoghue's men were the fancy of most to go on and defend their crown.

And while they are in the back in the final, they needed a second day out to see off Kilkenny in the Leinster final and Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Comparing the respective campaigns, the Galway boss told RTÉ Sport: "When you win the All-Ireland, a lot of confidence surges through the team. We have seen that through the summer as their experience came through when hard questions were asked.

"The confidence of winning last year was really evident in our play. The lads didn't panic and showed massive composure and huge character to win games.

"When the need was greatest they worked really hard and got some massive scores.

"Above all, the character, leadership and ownership that the players have shown in this championship has been brilliant." 

The hurling championship has well and truly lit up the summer and Donoghue is expecting another absorbing clash at GAA HQ on Sunday next.

"Both teams are going to go at it in keeping with the whole championship," he added.

"Limerick have had a brilliant year and have built on the success they've had at U-21 level. They've had brilliant performances which we saw first hand ourselves in the league.

"Galway above anyone knows how hard it is to win an All-Ireland. We'll take nothing for granted - the next game is the most important for us and that view has stood us well up to now."

If reports are true, Galway centre-back Gearóid McInerney will be fit to take his place against the Shannonsiders. He missed the replay win over Clare with a calf injury.

"Gearóid is making good progress and we'll be pretty confident he'll be fit for Sunday," was Donoghue's upbeat assessment.

"He's working really hard with the medics so hopefully he'll make it. It's where every player wants to be." 

Joseph Cooney started in the pivotal number six position the last day and his manager is full of praise for his adaptability. 

"In fairness to him, he's a huge player for us; a huge leader in the team. Everyone acknowledges the work that he does. He illustrated in the replay how he could adapt to going back. He plays there with his club. He had a massive game in that position and it gives us a big option there."     


Follow the All-Ireland senior hurling final via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App, watch television coverage on The Sunday Game Live, RTÉ 2, from 2.15pm or listen to exclusive national radio commentary on Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on The Sunday Game at 9.30pm on RTÉ 2.