Former Galway All-Star nominee Pádraic Mannion says playing hurling in Division 1B won’t put the Tribesmen at any disadvantage heading into the championship.
Galway were relegated to the second tier in Micheal Donoghue’s first season in charge last term and are hoping to bounce back at the first time of asking.
But the 23-year-old defender believes Division 1B will provide Galway with the perfect launchpad for another tough Leinster championship campaign.
Galway clash with Offaly in the first round of the NHL in Tullamore on Sunday in their first game in the promotion hunt.
But with a resurgent Wexford along with Limerick and Offaly for company, Mannion says it won’t be easy to come straight back up.
“It’s massive to get promoted even if it’s just for the confidence of the team. It would be great to get back up and play with the top six teams in the country again next year,” said Mannion.
“It is good to get those games before the championship comes around.
“But we’re not on the back-foot, you see where teams like Waterford were in Division 1B two years ago and they have come on so much since then.
“It depends on how you approach it, you get a chance to work on things. If you worry about yourself, and what you want to work on ahead of the championship, it will bring you on.
“We have to make sure we don’t get stuck there. Just because you’re in Division 1B doesn’t mean you are going to get easy games, the competition down there is fairly stiff as well. We are going to have to be ready for tough games.”
Main Galway sponsors Supermac’s have extended their backing of the county’s teams for a 28th year. Details of the sponsorship deal were announced last night at a function in Loughrea.
And Mannion is hoping for another long season – they lost the All-Ireland final in 2015 and Tipperary knocked them out at the semi-final stage last year.
But for the moment he is concentrating his efforts on his club hurling with Ahascragh-Fohenagh, who will face-off against Carrickshock from Kilkenny in the All-Ireland intermediate final in Croke Park on Saturday week.
He and his brother, All-Star Cathal, have had a busy schedule between preparation for Fitzgibbon Cup with NUI Galway, and playing for his club and county, but Padraic says they thrive on it.
“Our involvement with the county and NUIG will be limited now until the club is finished but it is a good complaint to have. You would love to be involved but that’s just the way it is and we will keep going the way we are going with the club and just get back whenever we can,” said Mannion.
“In fairness, the Galway management and the college management are very understanding.
“They leave us to the club to do our own thing with them and are not putting any pressure on us, so that helps a lot.”
Galway hurlers will get their campaign up and running on Sunday in Tullamore when they take on Offaly in the opening game of a double-header which sees the Faithful County meet Antrim in the football league.
Galway footballers, having drawn with Cork on Sunday, will be looking for their first win when they travel to take on a Fermanagh side who defeated Down in Newry on Saturday night.
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