Galway's Padraic Mannion admitted that nerves were a bit more heightened than usual ahead of the re-start of inter-county action this month. 

Mannion - a two-time All-Star and Hurler of the Year nominee at wing back in 2018 - has been moved to midfield under current management, the Ahascragh-Fohenagh player impressing hugely in his new role as Galway overwhelmed Wexford in the Leinster semi-final on Halloween weekend. 

It was Galway's first competitive game since they concluded their Division 1A campaign with a stunning comeback victory against Tipperary in Salthill. 

Though it was hard to detect too many jitters in the Galway camp based on their overall display, Mannion cited a couple of forgotten goal openings for Wexford in the early stages and said there was uncertainty beforehand due to the long gap between matches. 

"Our first quarter, Wexford got in for one or two goal chances," Mannion tells RTÉ Sport. "If they had gone in, it would have been a very different game. 

"I know the scoreline might suggest it wasn't as tough as it was. But out there, Wexford challenge you in so many different ways. It's always a tough game and thank God, we came out the right side of it.

"The workrate from everyone was a big positive. We never let up. Shane (O'Neill) commented on it there that it was the most satisfying thing overall.

"Because the first game out, you don't know where you're at. Personally, I was a little bit more nervous than usual because of the long break and so long without a county game."

The win tees up a Leinster decider against a Kilkenny side who blew very hot and then exceedingly cold in their one-point win over Dublin two weeks ago. 

It is the 13th Leinster championship meeting between the sides since the westerners joined the province in 2009. 

Currently, the head-to-head standings in provincial encounters reads six Kilkenny wins, four Galway wins and two draws. 

Galway, however, are on a winning streak against the Cats, winning three of the last four games, the other ending in a draw. 

"Every game Kilkenny play, they're always massively competitive. I'm sure it's going to be no different," says Mannion.  

"You don't have a long run-in to the game so there's a certain element of focusing on getting yourself right. But yeah, Kilkenny will bring a huge challenge like they always do.

"Traditional now is nearly changing because teams play so many different ways. Kilkenny usually play the traditional 15 on 15 but you don't know what they're going to do on the day. 

"They could do something completely different to what they've done before and you have to be ready for that."

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Follow Galway v Kilkenny (Saturday, 6.15pm) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and watch live on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player (coverage commences at 5.45pm)