A cocktail of grit, steel and genuine belief is what fuels this Galway team according to captain David Burke.

Whether that's enough to floor a spirited Limerick remains to be seen, but the Tribesmen's rise to the top of the food chain has come with painful lessons that aren't easily forgotten.

Burke himself has been on the wrong side of many a tight battle. What's changed, he says, is the eradication of a "softness" that had woven itself into the fabric of the county.

"This year we've shown grit and determination to get the job done," he told RTÉ Sport's Brian Carthy.

"We've been put to the pin of our collar. We've been looking to improve our performances this year and I think we have. 

"Before I've been a part of teams that have maybe lost tight games - by a point to Tipp in 2010, and different games to Kilkenny as well. It was more of a mentality based thing and probably a bit of softness in us.

"It's not down to the quality of players we had, it was maybe just a natural thing that was out there and progressed in Galway as a hurling public or fraternity, something that was let creep into the hurling senior team."

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They are now 70 minutes from claiming their second All-Ireland SHC title on the bounce having ended a 29-year for wait for Liam MacCarthy last September.

Standing in their way is a ravenously hungry Limerick, themselves desperate to bring home the big prize after a long drought - 45 years to be exact.

"Limerick have been unbelievable this year," added Burke. "They've been building nicely over the last couple of years and they have a lovely team.

"They're really playing for each other. It's going to be a real tough challenge.

"The Championship keeps giving and giving - it's been massive for any hurling fanatic. It's been unbelievable if you've been going to games or watching games. You've no real time to digest what's happened - there's a another game again the following week!"

Galway's path to this final defines their newfound toughness. Two epic, nerve-jangling battles with Clare could have gone either way. But after the drawn first game, it was the men in maroon who staggered over the line.

"All-Ireland semi-finals are there to be won. Clare are a brilliant team; they've fantastic hurlers all over the field.  Luckily enough we could curtail some of them at certain stages but it was two different games, the replay and the first day. We learned a lot for the first day.

"We've built up a steeliness... believing that you're good enough as a player to be playing at that level, believing then that you're going to help the squad get over the line.

"We've shown that over the last couple of years."

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.