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'People aren't going to look back at the end of the year and say, 'Galway had a great year, they won the league''
Galway’s Padraic Mannion is setting his sights on championship glory.

GALWAY DEFENDER PADRAIC Mannion is well aware the Tribe’s league-winning campaign will county for little at the end of the season if they don’t back it up in the championship.

Galway demolished All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the Division 1 Allianz Hurling League final to take home their first league crown since 2010.

For a county searching for their first Liam MacCarthy since 1988, there have been plenty of false dawns in the past. Not least in 2012, when Galway blew Kilkenny away in the Leinster final, before succumbing to the same opposition in the All-Ireland final replay that September.

“At the end of the day, everyone knows it’s the league,” said Mannion at the launch of the 2017 collection of Cul Heroes cards.

Cúl Heroes 2017 Trading Card and Magazine Launch Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE Mannion in Croke Park along with Colette Dormer, James McCarthy and Carla Rowe at the Cúl Heroes 2017 Trading Card launch Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“People aren’t going to look back at the end of the year and say, ‘Galway had a great year, they won the league.’ So you have to get back at it. The level of hurling in the championship, even against Dublin on the 28th is going to be steps ahead of the league.

“So you have to get back and get your level of hurling up again. Dublin had a fairly good league. They’ve new players coming in and getting all the Cuala lads back.

He added: “They had a great year as well so they’re going to be a serious, serious outfit this year. All we’re focusing on now is that game and just trying to get the level of our hurling up and to a level that’s fit for championship and hopefully it’ll work.”

Mannion and his Galway teammates are featuring in the popular trading card collection for the first time this year, along with ladies footballers and camogie players.

Galway’s inclusion is a boost for young hurling supporters in the county. Mannion feels the proposed introduction of a round-robin format in the provincial championships will also benefit youngsters in Galway.

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Under the new format, the Tribesmen would be guaranteed play four games in Leinster, two home and two away, before the top two teams in the group advance to the provincial final.

“As far as the players would be concerned, you just go and play wherever the match is on.

“But it would be nice for the supporters to be able to go to home championship games and for the kids to see home championship games, that would be great.”

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