John Mullane names Galway star as his Hurler of the Year – and picks out one team who could have a big 2019


19 August 2018; Pádraic Mannion of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
19 August 2018; Pádraic Mannion of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

John Mullane has named Galway wing back Padraic Mannion as his Hurler of the Year despite coming up just short in the All-Ireland final against Limerick.

Mannion, an All Star in 2017, was one of the few Galway players who stood up in Sunday’s final as he capped a strong season with another fine display in defeat.

The 25-year-old is one of the standout candidates to claim Hurler of the Year along with team-mate and last year’s winner Joe Canning, while Treaty duo Graeme Mulcahy and Declan Hannon have also been tipped for the honour.

However, speaking on The Throw-In, Independent.ie’s GAA podcast, John Mullane has made the case for Mannion to claim the prestigious award.

“For me, I think it will come down to three – Padraic Mannion, Joe Canning and Declan Hannon,” Mullane said.

“For me, it is Padraic Mannion. He has been Galway’s most consistent player all year. He goes about his business in a quiet way although Joe probably had his best year. He was better than he was last year but I thought over the whole season, and the nine games, Mannion didn’t have one bad game. He has been ultra-consistent for Galway and although Joe came with a powerful performance in the last ten minutes, I thought when everything was falling down around him in defence yesterday, Padraic Mannion kept fighting away. He would be my Hurler of the Year.”

2019 is poised to be just as exciting a championship as this year, with little separating the top seven or eight teams as we enter into year two of the provincial round robin system. Mullane is expecting a similarly exciting season next year, and thinks Waterford could be the team to do a Limerick in 2019 and burst back into contention.

“I’m not building them up but my own county have to be looking at the final and saying, ‘we’ve gone toe-to-toe with Limerick at minor and U21 and we went toe-to-toe with Galway last year’,” Mullane said.

“We probably came up against a better equipped Galway team last year than Galway were in the final this year. Waterford have to be saying to themselves, ‘why can’t it be us?’. But I think the window is closing for us. I always say that teams have a four or five year window of opportunity and for this current Waterford team, it’s definitely next year or 2020 at a stretch.

“The most difficult thing for Waterford next year is that they won’t have any home games in the Munster championship again.”

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie’s weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó’Sé and John Mullane.

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