By Cian O'Connell

Galway manager Shane O'Neill is hopeful Fintan Burke will be available for the upcoming Leinster SHC Final at Croke Park against Kilkenny on November 14.

Burke suffered a shoulder injury in the closing stages of last weekend's win over Wexford at GAA headquarters.

O'Neill admitted the problem isn't as bad as initially feared. "We don’t think so, no," O'Neill remarked. "So hopefully he will be okay."

Daithi Burke is continuing his comeback and hasn't been ruled out either.

"We don’t know yet, he is still in his rehab so we’re just going to see how it goes over the next week really," O'Neill commented.

"We’ve got a couple of lads coming back now, so we won’t know - we’ve only had the session on Tuesday afterwards, which was light enough.


Galway senior hurling manager Shane O'Neill.
Galway senior hurling manager Shane O'Neill.

 "We’ll probably have a better indication at the weekend or next Tuesday as to exactly where we’re at."

Having steered his home Limerick's Na Piarsaigh to All Ireland glory, O'Neill believes the benefits of a split season are significant.

"It was nearly a 15-month season for us with the club, which was very difficult at that particular time," O'Neill says.

"I think it’s probably the way to go.

"You could see the energy in the clubs - the fact that they had all the county boys with them.

"I think it’s probably looking like the best system at the moment. The fact they had the forced dry run as well shows that it was a success. So I would think that it’s probably the way to go, yeah."

Galway Senior Hurling Team to face Wexford in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final:

1. Éanna Murphy (Tommy Larkins)

2. Seán Loftus (Turloughmore)

3. Fintan Burke (St. Thomas')

4. Aidan Harte (Gort)

5. Padraic Mannion, Capt. (Ahascragh Fohenagh)

6. Gearóid McInerney (Oranmore Maree)

7. Shane Cooney (St. Thomas')

8. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh)

9. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)

10. Conor Cooney (St. Thomas')

11. Joe Canning (Portumna)

12. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields)

13. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly)

14. Conor Whelan (Kinvara)

15. Jason Flynn (Tommy Larkins)

Padraic Mannion enjoying return to action

By Cian O'Connell

Padraic Mannion just tried to stay cool and calm.

In the strange and worrying days when competitive sport wasn't permitted for four months, Mannion wondered what would happen.

Now that a Championship is motoring the Galway captain is simply delighted that the agenda features inter-county action.

"The uncertainty was probably the toughest bit, not knowing was there going to be Championship or not, that’s probably at the start of the lockdown," Mannion says.

"Then as you go further into it you probably realise that I’m getting to spend time with my family that I didn’t get to spend before, maybe have a different outlook on things.

"Personally, I’m just really looking forward to going back playing."

A deep appreciation exists for sport. "I probably have a bit more enjoyment for it now, not feeling the pressure as much," Mannion adds.

"It was tough, the uncertainty, but it was the same for everybody. There’s a lot more serious things going on than us wondering about when we’re going to be playing a match or training so that’s only a minor thing compared to what some people are going through."

Hurling, though, continues to provide joy, and that is one of the lessons Mannion learned.


Padraic Mannion in Allianz Hurling League action for Galway against Limerick last February.
Padraic Mannion in Allianz Hurling League action for Galway against Limerick last February.


"You can get caught up sometimes with the pressure of it all if you’ve big games coming up," Mannion admits. 

"Obviously there’s something wrong if you don’t have a bit of nerves coming up to big games, but just a fraction less maybe, trying to get more enjoyment out of it. 

"Anyone I’ve been talking to since the announcement, everyone is just delighted. The people at home that can watch the games I think it’s going to be massive for GAA people that the games are going ahead, not just the players, I think everybody in general. 

"It gives you something to talk about like, I didn’t realise how much time you spend talking about sport until it was gone.

"So I think it’s going to be massive for the country, apart from the players at all, just the people that can sit down and watch games and talk about it."

As a post primary school teacher Mannion has adapted to radically changed ways in the workplace also.

"It was different going back at the start with the masks and that, but in fairness all the students have been very good and have made it easy on us teachers," Mannion remarks. 

"It’s different, but once you get used to it, it’s obviously not the same as what it was but different years have their own zones for lunchtime and stuff, but they’ve been very good with it and in fairness our principal and vice-principal have made it easy on all the staff as well. 

"The teachers are just doing the best they can and hopefully we can stay open as long as possible, it’s looking that way that they’re going to keep them open so it’s great to be back."

By Cian O'Connell

It has been a strange introduction to inter-county management, but ultimately Shane O'Neill is glad that Championship hurling will be played in 2020.

Monday evening's news satisfied O'Neill, who is busy getting Galway ready for an October 31 date against Wexford at Croke Park.

"Yeah, really looking forward to it," O'Neill remarked at a press brief at the Galway GAA training centre in Loughgeorge on Tuesday. 

"We had news last night that the Championship is on, so we’ve been working hard in the last couple of weeks, obviously with the view that it was going to be played. 

"The boys have been working really hard, so we are really looking forward to it now."

The former Na Piarsaigh boss acknowledged that in this radically different year club form carries real significance.

"I suppose it’s very different to what we would normally had because the Club Championship was on and it was a very competitive Club Championship," O'Neill remarked.


Daithí Burke is an injury concern for Galway ahead of the Leinster SHC encounter against Wexford at Croke Park on October 31.
Daithí Burke is an injury concern for Galway ahead of the Leinster SHC encounter against Wexford at Croke Park on October 31.


"Some of the matches were really good, we saw an awful lot of players across all 24 senior teams and some of the Intermediate matches as well, which we distributed amongst some of the management groups.

"So we saw a lot of matches and a lot of players, so I suppose from the panel point of view we have had different guys coming in and out, so it is fluid to a certain extent."

Daithí Burke is still an injury concern for Galway with O'Neill stressing that the maroon and white outfit firmly focused on delivering a dynamic display against Leinster champions Wexford at GAA headquarters.

"Yeah, we are going in cold to a large extent I suppose," O'Neill commented.

"All we can do really is focus on ourselves, we’ve been looking at our own performances in the league etc.

"As I said, we saw an awful lot of club matches so we are seeing who is in club form and guys have brought the club form that they had into training in the last couple of weeks.

"So it’s really just looking after ourselves really just to see how we are going. As I said, the boys are working extremely hard in fairness, and hopefully it will come to fruition in 10 days’ time."

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