It’s going to be a warm winter for Effin

EVEN the most rural of parishes has its GAA pub, a local hostelry where players past, present and future meet, an informal community centre where supporters of all generations congregate after victory and defeat to mourn or to celebrate as the occasion demands.

Such a place is Barrett’s Pub in Effin and on Sunday evening – as on many another Sunday evening over the last two glorious years – it was rocking as a club and a parish celebrated the Munster club intermediate hurling title win.

Even on a day when the players gave probably the ultimate team performance, all 15 who started and the two replacements (Enda Kelly and Hugh O’Neill) hurling their hearts out, centre of much of the talk was one player, Nicky Quaid, and his display at centre-back.

“You look at Timmy Rea, popped up with three points from play,” said proud manager Peter Finn; “And that’s the thing about this team – all year it’s been different fellas popping up on different occasions in different games.

“We have a panel of 28 and there are lads who got no game all season they’ll still be the first on the field to training — unless you have those lads you achieve nothing. Ah but Nicky — what can you say? He’s in goals for Limerick but I don’t think we can afford to have a player of his calibre back there.”

But what of Nicky himself, where would he prefer to play for Limerick? His answer is somewhat surprising, until you realise his heritage.

“I have no preference – it’s an honour to be on the panel and the next challenge now is to get on the team again, and there are no guarantees there.

“The good thing about playing in goals with Limerick this year was that I was still out the field for the club so I got the best of both worlds. When you come back to the club you’re mad for a game, itching to get on the field, even for league games. Some fellas might go back to their clubs after a hard game outfield with Limerick and mightn’t be up for a tough battle against a team like Glenroe on a Tuesday night, whereas with me this year I was mad to get a game outfield again. It keeps you fresh.”

Echoes of his late, much lamented father Tommy there, goalkeeper for Limerick for 17 seasons (1976-93) even while starring outfield for his club Feoghanagh.

That blue-collar ethic permeates this whole side and, says Quaid, makes his job a whole lot easier at the heart of the defence.

“Work your socks off” — that’s our motto. Keep working hard all over the field. It looked great Sunday for the backs with only 11 points but all the work comes from the forwards who were hooking lads, chasing down balls and not conceding frees or easy clearances. Damien Moloney ran 60 yards after his man at one stage, flicked the ball away from him and we got a point at the other end from that.

“Conor Kearney is probably a back playing in the forwards and he just loves the hard work. In the semi-final against Aherlow he was fantastic for us, kept us in it, picked up all the breaks – we wouldn’t have been in the final only for him. We have that winning habit now and once we keep that attitude, everyone with the shoulder to the wheel, it will take a good team to stop us.”

Hard work done for this year at least, it’s party-time in Effin.

“The whole parish has had a smile on its face since the county junior final win last year,” said smiling Jim Moloney, father of Damien; “It made it a very short winter, and this one is going to be even shorter!”

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