Dan Morrissey looking forward to Munster Championship challenge
By Cian O'Connell
"The last nine months have been a bit mad," Dan Morrissey admits.
Hurling dominates the conversations again in Limerick and the All Ireland winners are now bracing themselves for the Munster Championship.
Still in the south west, the glory attained in 2018 continues to matter deeply with the next generation being inspired.
"You walk down the street and people will be congratulating you," Morrissey adds. "Walk into a shop and people congratulating you. Whereas, go back two or three years and you could walk down the street no bother, nobody would recognise you at all.
"It’s great. The numbers playing hurling in clubs around Limerick has definitely increased since last year. Definitely the interest in games – for the League games there was a great Limerick following. I’m sure at the Gaelic Grounds for the two rounds of Munster Championship will be great attendances."
A significant crowd is expected for Sunday's intriguing encounter against Cork, who Limerick defeated in an absorbing All Ireland semi-final last July.
"In fairness, the last few times we have met, there has never been more than a puck of the ball between us," Morrissey says.
"We’ve built up a nice little rivalry there. I am sure May 19 is going to be the same. There is not going to be much between the two teams. The way the Championship, you want to get off to a good start. "If you get a win in your first game, you are setting yourself up very nicely, whereas if you don't, you are putting yourself under severe pressure leading into the next couple of weeks."
It was a most satisfying Allianz Hurling League for Limerick, who triumphed, but delivering in the summer tops the agenda.
"Championship is where everyone wants to be winning games," Morrissey remarks. "It wasn’t that we set out to win the League. We took every game as it came and we were delighted to win the League.
"When you are playing senior inter-county, a National League, Munster, and All-Ireland are the three medals you want to win.
"Thankfully, we’ve won two of them over the last nine months. The Munster Championship is the next big one we want to win. We are looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Games are what players want.
"To be guaranteed four Munster Championship games, by comparison with previous years where if you won or lost your first game, you might not have another for four or five weeks.
"It is great the way the structure is now. You can play games every week and at the end of it, the best two teams will be in the Munster final."
Morrissey acknowledges that the provincial arena is one in which he always craved to produce on for Limerick. “A Munster Championship medal is something you grow up dreaming of having,” Morrissey states.
“I remember going to Munster finals in a child, Limerick might not have been in them, but you would have had Cork, Waterford, or Tipperary playing and you’d always dream of winning a Munster Championship with your county.
“75% of the panel doesn’t have a Munster medal so that is definitely a medal we would like to add to the collection.”
The Munster drama continues this weekend.