John Mullane: I just can't understand the naivety a lot of hurling people have when it comes to Galway
Waterford legend John Mullane thinks that anyone questioning whether Galway can back up their stellar 2017 is being 'naive'.
The Tribesmen ended their 29-year wait for an All-Ireland title last September, adding the Liam MacCarthy cup to the National League and Leinster championship crowns Micheal Donoghue's men also collected during a trophy-laden campaign.
Galway are the bookies favourites to retain their crown this year, but many teams have struggled to maintain the same performance level after landing the ultimate prize.
Speaking to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast in association with Allianz, ahead of the start of the National League this weekend, Mullane explained why he thinks Galway are perfectly set up to repeat as champions across the board.
"For all the talk that's out there, I cannot get over the naivety of an awful lot of the general hurling people out there," Mullane said.
"They are practically writing Galway off. I actually think the new structure is perfectly set up for Galway. They are in Division 1B. They have two home games in the championship that they didn't have. The monkey is off the back. They can unearth a few players in this National League. I'm going to say - I think they will steamroll through the Leinster championship again.
"I can't for the life of me understand the naivety that Galway won't push on and do what they did last year."
Although Galway start their league campaign in Division 1B, Irish Independent Chief Sports Writer Vincent Hogan doesn't think that will impact their chances of success 2018.
"I wouldn't necessarily disagree," Vincent Hogan said in response to Mullane's point.
"I think the whole idea of getting stuck in Division 1B - and Limerick have had six successive attempts at trying to get out of 1B - but I am inclined to agree with John, is getting out of 1B the priority or is it getting into the quarter-finals and finding your form reasonably gently? And not being foot to the floor as you have to be in 1A all the way.
"When we got to the league final last year, Tipperary were supposedly unbeatable. They were playing out of their skin and blowing teams out of the water. Galway arrived into that final relatively fresh. They had been beaten by Wexford in Salthill in one of their earliest games, Micheal Donoghue was lambasted and everything was going wrong for them. But they seemed to just pace themselves right and I think that is the key."
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