Tipp hurling's rising stars ready to push on in 2020
By John Harrington
Jake Morris believes Tipperary hurling’s rising stars are ready to really make their mark in 2020.
Young players like Morris, Mark Kehoe, and Ger Browne were mainly used as impact substitutes with good effect during the Premier County’s All-Ireland winning campaign this year.
Paddy Cadell and Jerome Cahill were also members of the senior panel this year and the likes of Craig Morgan and Billy Seymour who were team-mates of Morris, Cadell, and Cahill on this year’s All-Ireland U-20 winning team look good enough to be promoted next year.
“We won’t win anything if we’re the same as last year, you’ll never win anything two years in a row with everything the same. We recognise that,” says Morris.
“Us as U21s, we’ve had a lot of underage success so we’re very hungry for more. We’ll probably come back in next year very hungry again and determined to try and take one or two of the lads’ positions because that’s what we’re there to do, we’re there to push fellas on and that’s how you better yourself and better your team.
“You do have to improve, everything needs to go up a notch if you want to be successful in 2020.”
The All-Ireland winning Tipperary U-20 and U-21 teams of the last two years are clearly a talented generation, but do they already have sufficient character and self-belief to back themselves to make the grade as senior team regulars next year?
“Definitely,” says Morris. “There’s a couple of serious guys who have won maybe three All-Ireland medals underage before they’ve stepped up to senior level.
“That winning taste is a lot of experience because you can’t beat the experience of winning All-Ireland medals. You can’t tell someone about that, you have to experience it. When you experience it, you’re just so hungry every year going back in to taste that feeling again.
“We have tasted winning as an underage team and I know for a fact that there’s a lot of lads that will be keen to push on again this year.
“You’re not going to get anything handed to you, you have to put in the work on the field, in the gym, etc. Otherwise, you won’t be granted anything easily, not on this team anyway."
Morris is the only player so far in the history of hurling to win an All-Ireland minor, All-Ireland U-20, All-Ireland U-21, and All-Ireland senior hurling medal on the field of play.
Just six-days after scoring in Tipperary’s All-Ireland Senior Final win over Kilkenny this year he spearheaded a dramatic win for the county U-20 team in their final against Cork.
The 20-year-old has achieved a lot already in his career, but he’s adamant there’s no danger of the success going to his head.
“I suppose it's easy enough to keep grounded,” said Morris. “When you've lads looking after you in the senior team like we have. We have a lot of leaders in our squad and you're looking at the success of them and you're kind of looking up and saying I want to achieve that success too.
“To be getting complacent at 20 years age with what you've won would be very silly. I suppose I'm just looking at my next one. It's an unreal feeling winning an All-Ireland and it would motivate you to win another one.
“I don't really look back at previous achievements. They were unreal and it's maybe nice to look back at Christmas time, you might stick on one of the All-Ireland Finals, but it's just important to stay looking forward while you can because you don't know how long you're going to be fit and healthy.
“That's the way I look at it anyway.”