In the aftermath of their All-Ireland final victory, Limerick again referenced a pre-season boxing camp that had helped to bond them as a group.

"We were going in, literally bating the heads off each other," joked midfielder Darragh O’Donovan.

"John has been saying it all year, we have to fight with ourselves before we fight with anyone else. We have to respect ourselves."

So beaten Galway manager Micheál Donoghue may not have realised it but his description of Limerick’s two second-half goals, their only scores between the 44th and 78th minutes, as "sucker punches" was particularly apt.

"They came out and started really well and they played the game on their terms," Donoghue told RTÉ Sport.

 "At half-time, we just discussed where we were and areas we needed to improve on and I think we did in the second half.

"We did get into a bit of a flow and then we got the sucker punches of goals.

"Even when we came back, I know it was a mistake on our behalf but when the opportunity presented itself they took it and pushed on so credit to them.

"In fairness to Limerick, they got the big scores when they needed them but our boys fought to the end and I’m really proud of them."

The Tribesmen were twice intercepted bringing the ball out of defence after the break. First Gearóid McInerney, perhaps still hampered by injury, was robbed by Tom Morrissey for Graeme Mulcahy to strike.

Galway rallied and had reduced an eight-point deficit to five before Peter Casey dispossessed Adrian Tuohy to set up Shane Dowling’s 68th minute strike, converted with first-choice goalkeeper James Skehill off the field with a concussion.

"I think we had a bit of momentum coming back into it. It was just probably a killer punch at that time," reflected Donoghue of the second goal.

"The plan was obviously to work it out from the back and go through the lines. I’m not going to fault our boys for it. They worked really hard in the second half to put themselves back in the game.

"Huge credit to Limerick. They probably just had the edge on it the whole day and they’re deserving winners."

Despite the shots, Galway lifted themselves off the canvas and battled right until the final bell, losing by a single point in the end.

"They’ve shown massive resilience down through the years when they’ve had setbacks and I’m sure they’re going to bounce back again"

Did Donoghue think their eight-game, extra-time odyssey to the final and shorter lead in of two weeks to Limerick’s three had made a difference?

"I still thought the two weeks, we had enough time and the lads bounced back really well," he said. "I’m not going to sit here and use any excuse.

"We didn’t hurl the way we want to hurl for periods in games. The lads worked really hard at the end of the game.

"All you can do is ask them to go to the final whistle and Joe was probably a bit unlucky with the free (that dropped short).

They might not have gone back to back but Galway went down fighting like true champions and Donoghue is certain there is more to come from this team.

"It would have been great to get it but those are the margins, we take it on the chin, we have no choice now and just move on," he said.

"My thoughts on the players aren’t going to change," he said. "Yeah, we’re bitterly disappointed. What we achieved together and where we want to go, this huge unity, huge trust, huge collective in that group... they’ve shown massive resilience down through the years when they’ve had setbacks and I’m sure they’re going to bounce back again."