Pádraic Mannion: Galway comfortable with mantle of champions

As they look to bring their winning championship run to eight matches in Wexford this Saturday, Pádraic Mannion says Galway are comfortable wearing the tag of All-Ireland champions.

Galway's Padraic Mannion, who starred in his side's impressive win over Kilkenny on Sunday

Man-of-the-match against Kilkenny on Sunday, Mannion doesn’t get the sense that Galway are finding the mantle weighing on the group.

“It is something we took great confidence from last year but as soon as January 1 came, it was a new year. Just because you won it last year, it doesn’t give you any right to win any championship game this year. Last September seems far away now.

We are delighted to have four points on the board, the way this championship has gone, it is very competitive and every two points is massive.

That first Leinster game in Salthill at the weekend was of heightened importance to the players, Mannion said.

“Everyone was aware we haven’t played (Leinster) championship here before. Well, there was a few championship games a few years back but it was the first time Kilkenny came here for championship. And Kilkenny always perform on these big days, so we knew it was going to be a massive battle. We wanted to give the supporters something to shout about.

“You could feel the hype and excitement around, because it was the first game but we are around long enough now to treat it as just another championship game.”

Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against the team they beat in last year’s Leinster final has whet Mannion’s appetite.

Wexford are a serious outfit. They work really hard and they have a lot of great hurlers on the team.

“These are the games you want to play. It is funny now with the games so close together. You don’t get a chance to look too far ahead. You could be 10 days out from a big championship game with Wexford but you are preparing for Kilkenny in three days. You don’t get much chance to look too far ahead.”

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