'They won't let us get carried away' - Seán Finn insists Limerick will keep their feet on the ground

Seán Finn of Limerick celebrates following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick

Brendan O'Brien

Seán Finn is confident that Limerick manager John Kiely will keep his young All-Ireland winners grounded once the celebrations come to a close and the focus turns to the county's bid to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Kiely took a proactive role in managing expectations that threatened to wash over his youthful panel throughout the summer, most noticeably after their epic All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Cork when he warned the media to keep its distance in the run-up to the decider.

There has been no attempt yet to curb the celebrations unleashed by the first senior hurling title in 45 years. “We had been craving that success for a long time so we should enjoy it,” said Finn. He trusts his manager to draw a line when that is required.

“John is a superb guy and so too the guys in his backroom team. They won't let us get carried away. No-one is getting carried away. We are certainly enjoying the experience and that but they are good at managing us individually and collectively.

They are doing a super job at that. They are always in touch with us about certain stuff. We are young but we will have to be aware that the line will have to be drawn again and the heads put down.

Management and players know that it pays to greet the highs and lows with an element of equilibrium. It is only January 2017 since they had the criticisms of a small section of supporters ringing in their ears after the concession of seven goals against Cork in a Munster League fixture.

Kiely was hardly in the job a wet week at the time - and Limerick would win their three other group games before falling to the Rebels by a point in the final – but Finn heard plenty of the barbs from his seat in the Gaelic Grounds stand that day.

Finn at the launch of the Fenway Classic
Finn at the launch of the Fenway Classic

“That seems like a long time ago now. ... John got a lot of criticism. A lot of the players were aware of the criticism that he got. That's part and parcel of the job. John is very cute and very level-headed. John did make reference to it.

He obviously had that in the back of his mind, that people gave him criticism that time. He is doing the work and he got the reward. You have to take that regardless of what you are doing,. You are going to take criticism but it seems like a long time ago.

“I'm sure if we go badly again that those will come out of the woodwork again.”

There are no illusions as to the task facing them.

Being All-Ireland champions brings with it the certainty that sides already highly motivated to achieve will find an extra one or two per cent when facing them. Limerick will likely get a taste of that when they compete in the Fenway Classic with Cork, Clare and Wexford next month.

Had the summer worked out differently, Finn would have embarked for foreign shores already. Just graduated from college, the plan was that he would take some time away to travel but how could he leave a once-in-a-lifetime buzz behind him back home?

Impressive as Limerick were on the park, they have been moreso away from it, whether it has been the professionalism shown on the morning after the final when many of them did their usual water recovery sessions, or the manner in which they have carried themselves since.

The revelation that the Liam MacCarthy still hasn't seen the inside of a pub since Declan Hannon raised it from the steps of the Hogan Stand stands in itself as a declaration of intent and a point of principle for a bunch of youngsters who are such positive representatives of their generation.

The county board and management just said that as a bit of respect ... it takes a bit of pressure off the players as well, that they aren't expected to bring the cup around to pubs. Personally I think it is a super, super ideas and a lot of counties should follow suit in the future.

“It gives a good representation of the players and of the county as well. The younger kids don't see it going into pubs. It's great and the last few weeks we have been going into schools and clubs and that's where you need to be going.

“That's where you develop a new crop of Limerick hurlers over the years. They remember those days when it comes into the schools and a lot of people won't remember it going into a pub.”

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