by Daragh Small
Former Galway captain David Collins said that winning a county title with his club Liam Mellows goes a long way towards making up for the disappointment of missing out on an All-Ireland medal.
Collins was joint captain as Liam Mellows bridged a 47-year gap claiming the Galway SHC with a 3-12 to 1-15 win over favourites Gort at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.
It was a massive achievement for the city club, and personally for Collins (33) missed out on Galway's All-Ireland win after the curtain came down on his inter-county career a year ago after more than a decade of service.
"This absolutely makes it all worthwhile. I made the decision when I was fit and healthy to at least give the club another couple of years and this makes up for it.
"I lost the All-Ireland medal that I fought so hard for so long but I think I left my mark on it, we brought the young lads as far as we could and they stood up to the plate," said Collins.
Their shock win over Gort has given hurling in Galway city a huge boost in what has been the most successful year ever for the Tribesmen.
"We are going to enjoy every minute of this, this hasn't happened in 47 years," said Collins after Sunday's win.
"It has been a rollercoaster. I don't know what to say, what a year. What a year for Galway hurling and what a year for Liam Mellows.
"It was a pleasure coming up the steps and looking out to see the support that was there. I have lived and dreamed about this for a long time. It just meant the world to me to walk up the steps and collect the cup, just unbelievable.
"It's great for Galway winning but when you win it with your club it really sets it in stone; I can ring up any of these boys at any stage and have a conversation.
"They are your best friends at the end of the day and your club mates are there and they'll back you to the hilt," said Collins, who will be heading to Singapore with the All-Stars tomorrow (WED).
GPA President Collins won an All Star in 2012 when Galway lost the All-Ireland final to Kilkenny, with Mattie Kenny as a selector under the management of Anthony Cunningham on that occasion.
Kenny's Cuala side are next up for Liam Mellows in the All-Ireland semi-final and Collins knows they will face a big task in trying to dethrone them.
"Mattie Kenny has done a fantastic job with Cuala over the last number of years. I know Mattie and I know he's not going to give up and I know he is going to be a hard worker," said Collins.
"But we have a hard worker there in Louis Mulqueen and he is going to have the match-ups right. We are going to have some craic marking Con O'Callaghan when he is in that form. But we'll enjoy this first."