A year of years for Trim hurling
By John Harrington
It’s been a year of years for hurling in Trim GAA club.
The Meath club’s victory over Kilkenny champions Danesfort in the AIB Leinster Intermediate quarter-final two weekends ago made national headlines, but away from the spotlight there have been other achievements of note.
Next weekend they’ll contest the County U-21 Final, and if they win it they’ll have completed the clean sweep of every grade from U-13 up to senior.
Many of the players who will be involved in that match will first see action this weekend when Trim play Tullamore in the AIB Leinster Intermediate Hurling semi-final.
They’ll go into that match as underdogs, but will surely believe they can pull off another upset after that dramatic quarter-final win in Nowlan Park over a Danesfort team that included Kilkenny hurling legends Richie Hogan and Paul Murphy.
What made that win all the more impressive was that it was thoroughly deserved. They hung in when they had to, and then showed great self-belief to seize the initiative in the closing minutes to come from behind to win.
“It was brilliant,” says Trim manager Jimmy Canty. “It was a big win both for Trim and Meath hurling to go down to Kilkenny and get a win down there.
“We had to dig deep after they went two points ahead of us and come back at them when they were probably thinking they were taking control of the game.
“We have a great bunch of lads who have shown their character time and again between the football and hurling in the last few years. The belief is definitely there with the lads.
“We had time after the Meath final to ease ourselves back into it. We were able to take a week off and recover and we knew they probably wouldn't get the same. We found it took us two good weeks to get the soreness out of the bodies.
“We knew they'd probably only get a week's training before it so if there was a chance of getting a team on the hop it was probably Danesfort. It takes a week to get the tempo of your training back up so that's where we felt we might have a possibility of getting a good shot at them.
“What we focused on was that we'd bring our best performance to the game and see where it would bring us.”
Having five weeks to focus on that match against Danesfort was a luxury for the Trim players, most of whom also play football for the club and so have a very busy sporting diary.
Beaten All-Ireland Intermediate Club Football Finalists earlier this year, they’ve been pretty much on the go non-stop for the best part of two years now between both codes, but the club makes it work thanks to good communication between team managements.
“You're very busy with it and you don't get much of a break but it was structured well from the county side of things in so far as you had football one weekend then hurling the next,” says Canty.
“That helps a dual club, when you don't have a bunch of hurling and football fixtures where it's hard to get training for the other code in between. It was every second week in the League and championship so it was always football one week and hurling the next and the dual players were only training for one code each week
“It helped a lot with that because there would be a big cross-over between the two panels. It gave lads a bit of a break I suppose in so far as if it wasn't going well for them with one team then they could fall back on the other and it helped them keep their fitness up. It's that balance then of not over-playing and over-training them.”
As brilliant as the Trim players were in victory over Danesfort, Canty is keenly aware it counts for little coming into Saturday’s match against the Offaly Senior B champions and that nothing less than reaching the same high standards will suffice if they’re to reach a provincial final.
“You get a team that's playing senior in Offaly then they're going to be used to playing at a standard above ourselves. We're not thinking just because we beat a team down in Kilkenny that we're going to win the next day.
“We have to get ourselves back up to the same level we were at the last day to make ourselves competitive. If we drop our standards then we'll be leaving Navan disappointed.
“They have players of the calibre of Shane Dooley in their team. He's hugely experienced and has been a fantastic score-getter over the years.
“We're looking forward to the challenge and we're hoping we'll get a good following out to support us come Saturday.”