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Galway senior hurling captain Padraic Mannion.
Galway senior hurling captain Padraic Mannion.

Padraic Mannion enjoying return to action


By Cian O'Connell

Padraic Mannion just tried to stay cool and calm.

In the strange and worrying days when competitive sport wasn't permitted for four months, Mannion wondered what would happen.

Now that a Championship is motoring the Galway captain is simply delighted that the agenda features inter-county action.

"The uncertainty was probably the toughest bit, not knowing was there going to be Championship or not, that’s probably at the start of the lockdown," Mannion says.

"Then as you go further into it you probably realise that I’m getting to spend time with my family that I didn’t get to spend before, maybe have a different outlook on things.

"Personally, I’m just really looking forward to going back playing."

A deep appreciation exists for sport. "I probably have a bit more enjoyment for it now, not feeling the pressure as much," Mannion adds.

"It was tough, the uncertainty, but it was the same for everybody. There’s a lot more serious things going on than us wondering about when we’re going to be playing a match or training so that’s only a minor thing compared to what some people are going through."

Hurling, though, continues to provide joy, and that is one of the lessons Mannion learned.

Padraic Mannion in Allianz Hurling League action for Galway against Limerick last February.
Padraic Mannion in Allianz Hurling League action for Galway against Limerick last February.

"You can get caught up sometimes with the pressure of it all if you’ve big games coming up," Mannion admits. 

"Obviously there’s something wrong if you don’t have a bit of nerves coming up to big games, but just a fraction less maybe, trying to get more enjoyment out of it. 

"Anyone I’ve been talking to since the announcement, everyone is just delighted. The people at home that can watch the games I think it’s going to be massive for GAA people that the games are going ahead, not just the players, I think everybody in general. 

"It gives you something to talk about like, I didn’t realise how much time you spend talking about sport until it was gone.

"So I think it’s going to be massive for the country, apart from the players at all, just the people that can sit down and watch games and talk about it."

As a post primary school teacher Mannion has adapted to radically changed ways in the workplace also.

"It was different going back at the start with the masks and that, but in fairness all the students have been very good and have made it easy on us teachers," Mannion remarks. 

"It’s different, but once you get used to it, it’s obviously not the same as what it was but different years have their own zones for lunchtime and stuff, but they’ve been very good with it and in fairness our principal and vice-principal have made it easy on all the staff as well. 

"The teachers are just doing the best they can and hopefully we can stay open as long as possible, it’s looking that way that they’re going to keep them open so it’s great to be back."

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