Over the years Tipperary have suffered more than most at the hands of Kilkenny, so you can only imagine the joy Seamus Callanan felt at getting his hands on Liam MacCarthy.
“This is a special one,” he said. “I’m part of the panel that’s been around for a while and has suffered a lot at the hands of Kilkenny.”
However, the team are determined to push on. Now it’s their time to start dishing out the pain.
“There was a lot of hurt,” he said. “Now it’s time for us to start inflicting that hurt on other teams.”
Sunday was an incredible day for Callanan. He picked up his second All-Ireland medal, hit 0-13 and bagged the Man of the Match honours. While his form may have had ups and downs over the years, his belief never wavered.
“You’ll have dips in form but Eamon O’Shea showed a massive belief in me as a person and as a player gave me responsibility. He gave me a licence to be myself on the pitch. I’d felt restrained before, but it’s all about growing, evolving as a player.
“The years on the panel have brought experience too,” he added. “I’m at the peak of my career now. I’m 28 in two weeks so there’s a few good years left me in yet.”
That time on the sidelines tested his character but, he pointed out, many have had to endure the same,
“Sometimes you have to experience a bit of time on the bench - everyone goes through that patch,” he said. “Look at T.J. Reid, Richie Hogan - fantastic players, both Hurlers of the Year. They had their time on the bench for Kilkenny and have now become the leaders.”
Tipp have had their share of heartbreak, but the team never gave up.
“Losing is hard to take,” he said. “Everyone has their goals and when you don’t achieve them it’s tough. However, never for one second did anyone in that Tipp dressing-room think it was time to throw it all away and not go again.
“Everyone wanted another chance, redemption, the opportunity to fulfil aspirations. We weren’t going to give up on something that is our dream, not for anyone.”
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