Galway senior hurling manager Shane O’Neill has stressed the importance of beating Wexford in a Leinster semi-final at the end of October.
The Na Piarsaigh man believes a victory in that game makes things much easier in terms of a schedule.
“We have the structure now and we’re in the semi-final and if you win you’re out every second week so you could have four matches,” he told Galway Bay FM’s Over The Line. “If you lose, you could be out every week so the trick is to keep winning.
“It’s a long way away, it’s four months away and there’s a lot of hurling to be played for all the boys in the club championship. We have to assess where they are and once the county final is over I am sure we will have some form of injuries.
“We knew some guys would come back after the long break a different weight to some of the other lads. Some have come really well, some have come back and we thought they may be a bit further down the line but again we have a long way to go yet.”
He continued about Wexford: “Davy Fitz has done a fantastic job down there. They played Galway over the last three years and have been tight. The Leinster final alright, we were very strong a few years ago, but the other two games have been extremely tight.”
Addressing club delegates before the draw, O’Neill joked that he spent four years managing Na Piarsaigh and “had no control over the county players - now I’m a county manager who has no control over my county players.”
Having only been appointed in November, O’Neill said he and his management used the time to get to know the players better while strength and conditioning coach Lukasz Kirszenstein oversaw a second pre-season.
“As a management, we felt that we would have the lads prepared as best we could if and when it came around. Hopefully, all things going well and God willing we will have Championship.
“Delighted to get a fixture first of all and going out and playing games. Can’t wait as a management to have a look at the lads play for the clubs. We expect them to perform and dominate for their clubs.”
O’Neill has Joseph Cooney back in the panel after he returned from Australia.
“He’d an awful lot of work to do himself. He has put in that work but he is no different to others. We’ve had other players in and around the squad, asked them to do a bit of work and they’ve come back in and we’re looking forward to seeing them.
“Our squad is fluid. Whereas we have 36 it isn’t a defined squad for the remainder of the year. We’re going to see who has form and who doesn’t and how they get on in the club championship.”
As regards playing Championship in autumn and winter, O’Neill said the choice of venues could negate the expected poorer conditions.
“Playing in centralised venues and maybe if you’re playing in Croke Park that pitch would be able to withstand whatever weather is there.”