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Galway hurler Padráic Mannion pictured at the Cúl Heroes launch at Croke Park.

Galway hurler Padráic Mannion pictured at the Cúl Heroes launch at Croke Park.

Padraic Mannion remains focused

By Cian O’Connell

As an exciting hurling summer edges closer Pádraic Mannion remains hopeful that Galway can deliver once more.

Following the maroon and white exploits in 2017 when Allianz Hurling League, Leinster, and All Ireland glory was achieved, Galway want to sample more success.

With the interesting new format Galway are busy preparing for the May 12 Bord Na Móna O’Connor Park, Tullamore tussle against Offaly.

“Yeah, everybody is in the same boat now, everyone has to start from scratch,” Mannion says. “It is nearly like playing the League again, it is a League format. You have to take it one game at a time, we won't be looking past the Offaly game.

“That is our first game and we saw how Offaly were impressive in the League, if we start looking forward to the four games you are going to play, you are going to be in trouble in your first game. You just have to take it one game at a time, that is what we will be trying to do.”

A spectator when Galway last hurled in a Championship encounter at Pearse Stadium in 2011, Mannion insists the Tribesmen remain firmly focused for the challenges which await.

“After the All Ireland, the first few weeks the celebrations and excitement around the county it was great,” Mannion admits.

“You come to the time when you switch your focus on 2018. Once 2018 comes you get back into it, you start preparing again.

“It was great, but it is time with five weeks to Championship, I won't say we are forgetting about Championship, but you push it to the back of your mind, you start looking forward again, preparing for Offaly in the first round.”

Boosted by the return of Jonathan Glynn, who featured in Ardrahan colours last weekend, Mannion believes Galway still have scope for improvement. “I suppose one area would be from May or June last year, we didn't score a goal in the Championship,” Mannion adds.

“I know that we were playing against teams that are defensive and have sweepers and that makes it a bit more difficult. That's definitely one area that we would try to improve. I suppose if you can win games scoring points, you'd take that as well. If you go the whole year without scoring a goal and you're still winning games, you'd take that as well.

“With the forwards we have, teams are going to be really trying to clamp down on them. It's easier said than done to work on it. It's one area but there are loads of areas that we can work on.

“Every team tries to improve year on year and we're no different. Hopefully, if we can improve in that area - and we'll get a chance to do that in the first round - against Offaly last year they played with two sweepers and it was very hard to break them down.

“We had to shoot from out the field more and that really reduced the goal threat. Look, it's a challenge for us and one we're looking forward to.”

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