He’s just turned 19 yet Jake Morris already has a scrapbook of memorable moments as a Tipperary hurler, the majority of them positive.
The top scorer in last year’s Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U21 final win will be a key man for his county again this evening in the Munster U20 decider.
Even in advance of last year’s All-Ireland final, his name echoed throughout Tipperary after being involved in one of the most frustrating plays of the senior team’s 2018 Championship campaign.
It was the Nenagh man who struck a 65th-minute shot off the post against Clare, resulting in a move that ended in Ian Galvin netting for the Banner County 18 seconds later. Clare won by two points and Tipperary ultimately exited the Championship at the earliest possible stage.
Yet Morris doesn’t look back on that episode with any anger, chalking it down as a learning experience. It’s more the broken jaw in early 2018 that he still winces about.
“Last year was a weird year for me, I actually started off in February and I broke my jaw playing hurling with UL,” explained Morris.
“It was a bad start to the year. It was just at freshers training and I got hit a shoulder in under the jaw. I fell back and the crunch off the jaw, your teeth clashing, I actually got surgery and I have a plate in my jaw. I had pins, sort of screws in my mouth for five weeks.
“I was on a liquidised diet, it was hard. I actually got my screws out early and played the All-Ireland freshers’ final after four or five weeks.”
Morris admitted that mashing up his dinners and sucking them through a straw wasn’t much fun. I’d say I was back eating after two weeks! Ah look, it’s brutal, smoothies and blended up dinners.
“It’s hard but the way it’s gone now you’re drinking so much protein shakes anyway and stuff. You can compensate for everything, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone I can tell you.”
Morris bounced back and has played in all six of Tipperary’s Championship games this summer, starting both games against Limerick and coming on against Cork, Waterford, Clare, and Laois.
He will be expected to play some part in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford though this evening’s provincial U20 final is his immediate target. Considering that Tipp lost last year’s Munster U21 final to Cork, whom they eventually beat in the All-Ireland decider, he sees it as ground that needs to be made up.
“It’s a prestigious medal,” said the Economics and Geography student at UL. “Two years ago at minor, Cork beat us after a replay with this team, so there’s a small bit of revenge to be got. Last year was an eye-opener down in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, we learned a lot from that (U21) game.
“We regrouped and gathered ourselves for the All-Ireland final. This Munster medal is definitely very high up on my list of priorities and we’ll be going hell for leather for it.”