Gillane praises impact of Tony Óg Regan with Limerick
By Michael Devlin
Limerick sharpshooter Aaron Gillane is hopeful that new performance psychology coach Tony Óg Regan will have a positive impact on the All-Ireland champions.
Former Galway star Regan, a Leinster title winner in 2012, has joined John Kiely’s set-up to replace Caroline Currid, who played a key role in the Treaty hurlers bridging a forty-five year gap to win the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2018.
Like his predecessor Currid, Regan brings an impressive track record into the Limerick camp. He was involved with the Tipperary hurlers under Michael Ryan in a three year spell which yielded an All-Ireland title in 2016, and he also helped the Galway footballers to a Connacht title in the same year.
Regan was also part of Tribes’ minor hurling backroom teams for All-Ireland titles in 2015 and 2017, and Gillane revealed he has already made a big impression with the squad.
“Tony is great, he’s a nice man. I suppose what's great about Tony is he's not only there to talk to, but he has the whole experience of being there and done that as well. He's really settled in and gets on with everyone, everyone likes him anyway.
“I think one thing that really stood out, he did a great job with the Galway footballers. Look, these things, I know Tony is great and he'll do a great job, these things are only the one and two per cent marginal things I suppose. We kind of stick to worrying about the hurling now and see what we can do on the field more so.”
Gillane also praised Currid, whose influence, according to the Patrickswell man, is still very much ingrained in the team as they aim to follow on from last year’s All-Ireland triumph by adding a Division One league crown this Sunday against Waterford.
“Caroline was great too. Obviously we'll miss her, she was with us I think two or three years. Same she got on with everyone and everyone had great time for her, she was a great outlet if anything was playing on your mind or if there was anything you wanted to talk about going out playing a big match.
“There was no point going out on the field being bundled up worrying about things so I suppose Caroline just enabled us to go out and play with freedom really.
“I think she kind of gave us confidence. That might have been something that was missing in Limerick for the last few years. She showed us that we really are up there with four or five of the top teams in Ireland and even though she's gone now, we still want to have that same mindset.
“The same group of players are there, we're still going to try to reinforce that now throughout the year.”
After ending the wait of 45 years for an All-Ireland, another lengthy hoodoo remains in terms of league success. Limerick last won the title back in 1997, and Gillane and his golden generation are keen to end another drought with victory at Croke Park on Sunday, and terminating all talk of history.
Kiely’s side have seemingly picked up from where they left off last September, topping an ultra-competitive Division 1A before recording impressive victories over Laois and Dublin in the competition’s knock-out stages.
“Yeah, look it, we were in 1B for long enough,” says Gillane. “We wanted to get up to 1A and really test ourselves. As well as that we wanted to enjoy it and make sure we were able to play against the top teams before coming into the championship but at the end of the day Sunday there's a national title up for grabs.
“We're taking it as a huge match anyway, I'm sure Waterford are the same because it is a very important competition.
“Once people mention Limerick now, people think about years and time gaps and stuff. I think since John and Paul [Kinnerk] came in, I think this is their third year and we're taking it as this is our team for the last three years.
“The last 22 years Limerick teams couldn't win the league, that's nothing to do with us. We're kind of focusing on ourselves and making our own history.”