Needing two games to beat Kilkenny and retain their Leinster title has given Galway plenty to work on, admits Cathal Mannion.
Man of the match in Sunday’s provincial final replay, Mannion knows the extra effort required was as big an eye-opener for the team as the draw was a reality check for the supporters.
“I suppose it was but every day we go out, we are trying to play the best we can. We take every game as it comes but that is not for players to talk about.
“I suppose every game you go into, you learn a lot from it. We learned a lot last week and we learned a lot (on Sunday) as well. But again, there is going to be bigger days ahead and in regard to the semi-final, no matter who we have, it is going to be a step up.
“It is going to be a tough three weeks ahead for us.”
Making amends from the draw to keep the Bob O’Keeffe Cup was the main objective for Galway as much as a third game in as many weeks against Limerick was a reason not to lose.
“I suppose it was in the back of our minds,” acknowledged Mannion, “but when you get to a provincial final, you want to win it. Simple as that.”
It was a day when Mannion said “everything went over” for him but then Galway didn’t have everything their own way as Kilkenny cut their deficit from 12 points to one.
Composure was essential.
“The game opened up and the heat was a factor as well. Lads were tired and that is when the game opens up.”
With nine forwards capable of filling the six starting spots, Mannion didn’t do his chances of retaining his place any harm with six points from play.
“You need lads driving you. You don’t mind who starts, obviously you would like to start yourself but you know the lads in for you or the lad coming on for you is going to do a job too. That is what you need in a team.”