Padraic Joyce said his players had reaped the reward for "two or three years of hard work" after Galway recorded a first Connacht SFC victory over Mayo since 2018 and first of his tenure as manager.
"The lads deserve that," he told RTÉ Sport afterwards. "They have put a lot of work into Galway football the last two or three years and have had a lot of disappointments.
"Any day you can beat Mayo in Castlebar is a significant win.
"Today is a good day but we'll dust ourselves down now and get ready for Leitrim [in the semi-final] in two weeks’ time."
Galway survived a late rally from the hosts to win by a point – 1-14 to 0-16 - having been six up with two minutes remaining.
"You have to credit the lads for the character they showed," said Joyce.
"Obviously we didn’t play a full 70 minutes, as we would have liked, but that’s the way big games go. You’ll get your periods and they get their periods, where you try to limit the damage.
"We got a great start, went 1-03 up when Johnny [Heaney] snuck in behind Aidan O’Shea and stuck it in the back of the net.
Johnny Heaney with the goal for Galway against Mayo— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) April 24, 2022
Highlights on #sundaygame at 9.30pm #RTEGAA
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"The black card [for Finnian Ó Laoí] hurt us a bit, even 15 on 15 is hard against Mayo with the running game they play, but Conor Gleeson made a fantastic save just before half-time that kept us right in the game. Had that gone in we would have been a bit deflated and three points down playing into the breeze.
"But in the third quarter, our main players were brilliant. Paul Conroy was outstanding, Shane [Walsh] kicked his three frees in a row, Damien [Comer] was very very good, Dessie [Conneely] when he came on worked very hard. So we’re delighted with them.
"We hung on in the end but you make your luck and it’s about time we got a turn of luck in these games."
It was James Horan’s first defeat in seven championship encounters against Galway as Mayo manager but he had no complaints.
"We’re disappointed with how we played and how we started," he said.
"We went six points down very early and looked to be off it. We grinded it back by half-time but for 15 minutes of the second half we went flat again. You can’t do that against a good team like Galway and hope to win it.
"We had 17 chances in the second half and kicked seven of them so you’re not going to win anything with that either.
"We got what we deserved today unfortunately."
Horan admitted losing full-back Oisín Mullin early in the second half had taken the wind out of his team’s sails but was unsure as to the extent of the Young Footballer of the Year’s hamstring injury.
"He’s wrapped up in there. We’ll have a scan tomorrow and see where he is."
It’s a familiar path ahead now for Mayo, who reached the All-Ireland finals through the back door in 2016 and ’17.
"Previous years (2020 and 2021) we might not have had the chance we have this year," reflected Horan.
"We could have four to six weeks [wait for their first qualifier] so we’ll certainly stick together and work hard to try and be in better shape for the next game.
"We’ll take a break and reflect but we have a lot of guys who have very little work done from injuries etc so it’ll be a chance to get them up to the level we can."