People who feel the interprovincial championships, the old Railway Cup, don’t have a future should have a chat with Jackie Tyrrell.
The Kilkenny hurler was bursting with enthusiasm for the Leinster jersey earlier this week.
“Connacht on Sunday will be my first game of the year,” said Tyrrell.
“I’m looking forward to getting the helmet and jersey and getting out.
“A little bit rusty? That’s being nice. The touch and the fitness wouldn’t be the best but it’ll be good to have a game under the belt before the league.
“I haven’t seen their team but it’ll be good to see what kind of a team they have. it’ll be interesting.”
Tyrrell praised the likes of Martin Donnelly for backing the competition: “It’s on death row and it’s hard to get your head around the reason why, the best talent in the country plays in it, but people don’t buy into it. I don’t know if there’s more they could do in terms of letting kids in for free or whatever. I would be firmly in favour of keeping it. It’s a great competition and I love playing in it. I love getting the call for it and I hope it works out. Martin Donnelly has done a lot for it and hopefully it’ll improve because you have great hurlers, great games.”
The James Stephens clubman admitted freely that he feels strongly about the competition.
“I do, genuinely, we trained the other night and (Leinster manager) Joe Dooley said you can only put on three jerseys — your club, your county and your province.
“It’s an honour to play for your county and it’s the same for your province. And it’s great to play with lads you’d normally be facing down in the summer.
“Everyone they rang last year turned up, so the players are definitely interested — for instance, there are 13 Kilkenny players on it this year and around the same last year.”
The sales rep with Glanbia consumer foods, who covers the southeast and beyond, said he enjoyed a complete break after a long 2012 season.
“Normally I’d do a bit but with the drawn game and the club championship after that I took a total break for the guts of a month, then I did a bit before we went on the holiday.
“After the holiday I was mad for 2013, had I stayed doing a bit I might have gone a bit stale, but now I’m re-energised.
“It’s a golden era and you want as much out of it as you can. I’m not putting a time on it, you could have an injury next week and be gone, you could get the chop, so you keep going as if it’s your last year.”
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