Graeme Mulcahy: Limerick have shown they have winning mentality

The novelty of victory hasn’t worn off on Graeme Mulcahy. His first four Munster championship games, going back to his debut as a substitute against Waterford in the 2009 semi-final replay, were defeats.

Graeme Mulcahy: Limerick have shown they have winning mentality

Before overcoming Tipperary two years ago, which started a period in which Limerick have won three of four provincial games, early summer meant licking his wounds.

“Up until then it had been a bleak four years since I had first started. Not a great inter-county career. But since then we’ve got a few big victories under our belt.”

Much of that has to do with what Limerick have done to improve themselves. In the home straight against Tipperary these last two occasions, they have been far superior.

Paul Browne before said they vowed never to be caught again as they were by Declan Ryan’s side in 2012. It’s a pact they’ve kept.

“We have that bit of character, that we can bring a kind of Limerick style of hurling to it so that when it gets tough, we really dig in and try to dig out a result,” says Mulcahy.

“When it hadn’t been going well for us in the past couple of years we’ve put a real onus on still digging out those results by bringing some character to the table. We know that teams don’t like hurling against that, so it’s certainly something we’ve focused on.

“Maybe in 2012 it was a mental thing that we were so far ahead we couldn’t believe it ourselves and we let it slip. Once we got over the first one we gained that bit of experience of closing out games. Even the Clare game the last day we closed that out whereas in other years we might not have been able to do that because of the mentality that was there.”

The win over Clare was Mulcahy and the rest of the Kilmallock crew’s first of the year since the club’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Portaferry in early February. They returned only to be beaten by Dublin in Croke Park, where they were also humbled by Ballyhale Shamrocks in March.

“It wasn’t easy, to be honest. I think TJ (Ryan) and the lads have been fairly flexible with the training and leaving us off here and there to keep that bit of freshness. We got the week after the club game off. Then we were back for the Dublin match in the league.

“After that we picked our own sessions here and there that we didn’t feel we were fresh for. We just sat those ones out.

“In a way, losing is probably easier to shake than winning it because you just want to get back in the gym and back working on the field and try to prove a point, really.”

Mulcahy has seen his role as an inside forward transform particularly when the team is without the ball.

“There is more of an onus to work that bit harder and try to stop that ball coming out and even hold it up there. When I first joined the panel it wouldn’t really have crossed my mind to do those sorts of things.

“It’s just the way the game has gone. There certainly is more of a leadership role, especially in the full-forward line, to work extremely hard and keep the ball there more than put it over the bar. But I enjoy it.”

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