Now that the dust has settled following an autumn where Anthony Cunningham stepped aside as Galway hurling manager, new manager Micheál Donoghue doesn't feel that the weight of expectation will be greater for him and his players in 2016.

Prior to Cunningham's departure, there was that collapse in the second half of the All-Ireland final against Kilkenny. After the optimism of the opening 35 minutes what followed was most disappointing as the Cats routinely went on to win the big prize yet again.

In the days before Christmas, Donoghue was appointed and for him it's now all about working with the players at his disposal.

"For myself and the rest of the management team this job is something we're really looking forward to" - Micheál Donoghue

Speaking to RTÉ Sport after Galway's win over DCU in the Walsh Cup, Donoghue said: "I don't think there is any bigger pressure on us. Every championship year is different. Our focus is now on the league and then we'll switch to the championship.

"There is a great squad here. They've been in two All-Irelands in 2012 and '15, so the calibre is there. For myself and the rest of the management team this job is something we're really looking forward to.

Assessing the 1-16 to 0-17 win over DCU, Donoghue was pleased with the attitude his side showed, but stressed that they are bit behind in terms of physical preparation with the league just over a month away.

"Conditions weren't ideal and the pitch was really heavy but we were delighted with the application and attitude shown," he said.

"We gave a good few lads a start and then there were others who didn't play any championship last year.

"We have other players to look out and we'll get a chance to do that with two more games to come in the next week. 

"The reality is, however, that we're probably a month behind other teams in terms of physical preparation.

"At this moment we're trying to build up the physical condition of the players, building towards Cork on 14 February."