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'For lads to not be allowed go on matchday is obviously very disappointing'

Galway star Cathal Mannion agrees with John Kiely’s stance that full panels should be allowed at games, adding that ‘everyone is putting in the same time.’

Cathal Mannion at Blackrock beach in Salthill, Galway for the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Series National Launch.
Cathal Mannion at Blackrock beach in Salthill, Galway for the GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Series National Launch.
Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

GALWAY HURLING STAR Cathal Mannion agrees with John Kiely’s stance after the Limerick boss hit out at the restrictions which prevent all of his squad members from currently attending games.

“I would appeal to the authorities at government level, at national level, to end this nonsense and allow the panels across all the county teams to be together,” Kiely said after watching his Treaty side retain their Munster crown.

The GAA is operating under the Government’s protocols for elite sports, which only allows for those on the 26-strong panel to be at matches. And Kiely said he was “quite offended” that 10 players on his full Limerick squad were not allowed to be present at Semple Stadium.

When asked if he agreed with Kiely’s sentiments at the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Series National Launch yesterday, Mannion said:

Definitely yeah. Everyone is putting in the same amount of time, the same training, and for lads to not be allowed go on matchday is obviously very disappointing.

“Every team is obviously on the same boat, they have their extended panel not allowed to go to games, but I think there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be allowed to go.”

GAA is very different in the current climate through the Covid-19 pandemic, with health and safety of paramount importance. 

Mannion realises just how careful players have to be, with a positive case potentially hampering championship ambitions as we hit the All-Ireland quarter-finals this weekend.

“They keep reiterating to us, the team doctor and management, how important it is. You are trying to keep yourself in your own bubble and maybe away from people as much as possible. Less contact.

“But obviously everyone has to go out and work. It’s easier said than done. You have to mind yourself.

If you are a close contact, you are basically out for the period of two weeks. Unfortunately that’s happened to a few teams recently. It’s not as common in the last few weeks.

“I think everyone is finding themselves and keeping away from people as much as possible. you just have to do it and there’s no other way around it.”

The build-up to matches is very different, mainly due to the fact that games are behind closed doors but “once it’s thrown in, it’s the same as any other game,” Mannion, who’s still extremely disappointed after Galway’s Leinster final defeat to Kilkenny, assures.

“Look, I think most players would prefer crowds for the buzz of championship but one big advantage would be even on the pitch, you can communicate a lot better with your players.

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“If you were to play in a packed Croke Park, you wouldn’t be able to hear each other as good on the pitch. So communication levels is probably the main positive or the main benefit from it.”

cathal-mannion-and-cillian-buckley Facing Kilkenny last weekend. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

He’ll take few positives overall from the defeat to the Cats last time out, but the quick turnaround to their blockbuster battle with Tipperary this weekend has certainly refocused the mind. 

“Obviously, we were very disappointed but with the quick turnaround, you can’t dwell on it too much. You have to learn from it, look at yourself and learn yourself from it and move on. The quick turnaround doesn’t give us time to over analyse it, which is probably a good thing.

“You can’t look back, we have to look forward now because Saturday’s coming on fairly quick. We have to just prepare for that.”

And unlike the county’s footballers who were stopped in their tracks by the cut-throat nature of knockout football, they go again.

“We have a second chance and we’re just delighted that we have, so you have to dust yourself down and move on,” Mannion concludes, not looking too closely at the rivalry and tradition between Tipp and Galway.

“We’re delighted with the chance we have ahead. A second chance at it. It’s tough on the footballers, Galway lost to Mayo, that was their first championship game and they’re gone after that.

“We’re just delighted we have a second chance at it and we’re looking forward to it.”

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