Tom Morrissey relishing the challenge
By Cian O'Connell
Tom Morrissey is satisfied because it has been a campaign in which an evolving Limerick outfit has embraced challenges with commendable composure.
How John Kiely’s team are evolving is a source of optimism with Sunday’s Croke Park All Ireland SHC Semi-Final against Cork the next step on the journey.
Following a decorated career in the underage ranks Morrissey is thrilled to be part of the Limerick senior set-up.
“When you finish your underage career you know you need to step up to the next level,” Morrissey says. “I think as a group any of the young lads that were part of that Under 21 group and success last year realised that.
“It was in the past and it was underage and that there was a new challenge lying ahead of us. I think we are just relishing the opportunity and so far this year we have extended that culture that was created and it really has brought a bit of belief and confidence.
“I think we are just looking forward to each challenge as it is at the moment, bring the next one on type of mentality. Definitely there is a step up and everyone has made it and are looking forward to just continuing it.”
That so many from last year’s victorious Under 21 panel have graduated smoothly is a boost, but Morrissey stresses the importance of the more established Limerick hurlers.
“I don't know if it helps as much, that Under 21 team was a completely separate team,” Morrissey adds.
“We have huge experience lads like Declan (Hannon), Seamus Hickey, Tom Condon, all these lads still there and there is a good blend at the minute between the experienced lads and the youth coming through.
“I think together as a group this year we have got a sense of belief that there is something different, we have really bonded. I think that shows on days like the last day against Kilkenny. We all stick by each other until the very end and it gets us over the line more often than not.”
Morrissey is content with his own form in the green and white shirt highlighting the way in which Limerick thundered into the Munster League as a sign of their intent. “Yeah, I suppose the year started for me back in the Munster League, as John said the team had a good Munster League, but I definitely at the start of the year got my jersey against Cork down in Mallow,” Morrissey recalls.
“It was actually last year, December 30, I think, it was really a chance for me when you get the jersey you hold on to it.
“John has really brought in that element of it if you are playing well you will maintain that jersey. I think since then I have made that number 12 jersey a target of mine, that I want it for each game. At the minute it seems to be going well for me on the pitch, long may it continue.”
Limerick’s focus is simply on Sunday’s match, not the occasion or the fact that a place in an All Ireland decider awaits the winners. “That’s more the supporters and media will be talking about, the prize,” Morrissey states.
“When we’re going into a match it really is a one game at a time mentality and we just won’t be thinking of the prize or the outcome that is at stake when we do face Cork, it’ll be more we just want to beat Cork on that day and there’s no looking beyond that really.”