Galway hurling manager Micheál Donoghue accepts that his side were 'a tad off' in their All-Ireland final defeat but vows that they will be back again next year.

The Tribesmen lost their All-Ireland crown to a Limerick side who were eight points clear in the final 10 minutes and managed to hold off a late Galway surge to edge a one-point victory.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport after the game, Donoghue praised his charges for the fight they showed in the closing stages but admitted that they left themselves with too much work to do before the end.

"We're bitterly disappointed. I just felt we probably didn't get into the game but you have to give huge credit to Limerick. They started really well and were dominant for long periods.

"We came back in the second half and in fairness to them, they got the crucial scores at probably the right time and full-time probably just came a bit too quick for us."

"We weren't on it but I can be no more proud of the lads. They fought to the end and maybe a puck of a ball away from getting a draw but as I said, they died with their boots on and I couldn't have asked them for anymore."

Micheál Donoghue congratulates John Kiely.

He continued: "That's all we can ask of them. Nothing's gonna change for me in terms of how we regard them. They understand the responsibility that goes with it and they fought to the bitter end.

"That's just the way it goes. They fought really hard and were a bit unlucky but you can't take anything away from Limerick. Today's their day and congratulations to them. I hope they enjoy it."

Galway were forced to go to replays in their last two championship outings on their way to booking a spot in a second consecutive All-Ireland decider.

Both ties against Kilkenny and Clare were close and intense affairs but Donoghue dismissed the possibility that fatigue from those extra games played a factor in how their clash with Limerick played out. 

"We're not going to make any excuses. Obviously, [it was] a big day and a big occasion, exactly where we wanted to be. You have to perform and we were probably a tad off it but that's down to Limerick. They came out, started really well and in fairness they got the big scores when it counted and congratulations to them."

"That's sport through and through. I've alluded to it before that these boys have had good experiences and bad experiences. The unity and trust that's in that group. There's a massive collective in it. Obviously today we're massively disappointed and we came up to try and win the game and retain what we won last year but I've no doubt in my mind that these boys will be back."