Tom Morrissey: Limerick need to win more All-Irelands to be considered a great team

GAA PRESIDENT JOHN Horan confirmed on last week’s Late Late Show that the Liam MacCarthy Cup will not be leaving Croke Park with the victorious team after Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final.

The Association took the move to avoid crowds forming that could lead to the spread of Covid-19.

It had been mooted earlier in the week that the famous trophies would not be moving from GAA headquarters, a move which Limerick’s Tom Morrissey questioned.

“I don’t think that is necessary,” the wing-forward said. “Whether ourselves or Waterford win, I think it will be hugely disappointing if you couldn’t bring the trophy home with you.

“Obviously we’re training together three times a week as it is, we’re going out together playing in a match. We’re going to be playing against 15 to 20 other players as well from Waterford and they’re likewise.

“So whichever team is victorious on the day you’d imagine that they should be allowed to hold the trophy together if they’re allowed do all of that.”

Limerick have twice experienced lifting silverware in the Covid era and on both occasions the trophy wasn’t presented to the team until training the following Tuesday night.

John Kiely made the call so the entire Limerick panel would be in attendance for the Division 1 and Munster trophies and not just the 26-man matchday panel.

“I think it’s something all panels will say but I think it really showed with our group, when John made that statement, how strongly we feel about our unit,” said Morrissey.

“John came out with that statement that we wouldn’t present the cup til Tuesday night at training and he did just that. He was always adamant since the start of the year when he was told the extended panel wouldn’t be allowed into games, he was always adamant that they should be allowed.

“He was the first manager to speak out about that and it’s paid fruit that they will be allowed into the All-Ireland final. Which is only right. It reflects what we are as a group and John reflects that.”

If Limerick are victorious on Sunday the entire squads and backroom teams will be in the stadium following the easing of government restrictions.

Morrissey welcomed the move. 

“We’re trying to prepare for an All-Ireland final – it was just an added bonus to know that everyone can go and attend and we’ll be able share this moment together. All-Ireland final day is huge.

“Everyone says the effort they’ve put in this year but the players have put in the effort for how many years to get to this stage of their life. Not to be allowed in would be an absolute catastrophe really. It’s only right that they are.

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Limerick’s Gearoid Hegarty celebrates at the final whistle with Tom Morrissey.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s a huge lift to everyone really, not just those 10 extended panel members that weren’t allowed in previously. It gives a lift to the other 26 who were allowed travel, just to know you have the full 36 travelling to games. To have that buzz and that moment with everyone.”

However, he admits Kiely still has difficult decisions with players vying for a chance at seeing game-time on Sunday.

“I don’t think it takes pressure off. He’s still going to have to deliver the news to 10 people that they don’t make an All-Ireland final squad which isn’t easy for a manager anyway.

“Look, it’s an added bonus there’ll allowed go and it’s fantastic but he still has plenty of hard calls to make.”

With a pair of National League and Munster titles, in addition to the All-Ireland they won in 2018, and another final to look forward to the 24-year-old has enjoyed a trophy-laden start to his inter-county career.

“At the moment, current focus is living in the now and winning every game and every trophy that is there to be won each year we go out in each competition we play in.

“There’s no denying the last few years have been unreal for Limerick hurling considering the lack of success that was there in the years before. I don’t really know if it’s exceeded my expectations – I don’t think it has. We’re a very ambitious group.

“We were lucky enough to have success at underage as well. My group, we started at under-16, won an All-Ireland, back to back Munster minors.

“Have two Munster under-21s and two All-Ireland U21s as well. Going off that, I know I was lucky to be on those teams but success was ingrained in us. I wouldn’t say that we’re exceeding expectations with everything we’ve done thus far.”

The Ahane man says Limerick are determined to add more silverware over the coming years to go down as a great team.

“You kind of get into looking at all those things about legacies and maybe whether people are going to consider this team as a good team or a great team.

“In my eyes, if we do want to be a great team, it’s to push on and obviously win an All-Ireland or a few more if you want to be considered a great.”

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