Corofin forward Jason Leonard is heeding the advice of his sister Tracey and is intent on stockpiling as many winners medals as possible while he has the opportunity.
Leonard will be a key cog in Corofin’s machine as he prepares to play in a fourth All-Ireland club final, but against Down champions Kilcoo he knows they face a hungry opponent that is desperate to dethrone the champions.
Like his older sister, the 26-year old is eager to forge a career with Galway, and has listened keenly to her knowledge of the game. But Tracey won her last county title with Corofin in 2012 and the rapid fall off in their success has been noted.
“Without a doubt I looked up to her. It’s been a great year for her personally as well,” said Leonard.
“She’s actually one of the people who most motivated me. She always stressed the importance of making the most of it. She came into the Corofin senior ladies team when she was much younger, maybe 14 or 15. And they were on the back of winning five or six in a row.
“She always warns me, that these days won’t always be here all the time. Whatever period of success we have at the moment will not last. It will come to an end, so she’s always warning me to win as much as you can, when you can.
I remember many’s the time our U-14s would have played their U-16 ladies and they might have given us a trimming once or twice. We grew up constantly playing in the backyard. I suppose it’s all we know at home and it’s always talked about.
Since his debut with the club seniors in 2012, nearly all Leonard has experienced is glory. He did lose his first Galway final against Salthill-Knocknacarra, but since then all seven seasons have ended with a gold medal – three of them with All-Ireland victories.
A side effect of that success is that he hasn’t been able to give the county scene a decent crack, although the early scheduling of the club finals this year means he will only be a week or two behind his rivals to make the Galway cut.
“Yeah, about ten of us were training with Galway before the Christmas. Granted, it’s there in the back of your mind, but the push we have now for the next few weeks means our focus will be will be Corofin. We’ll see what happens after that.
“I was involved last year in the panel, but I suppose coming in after April may have been a bit too late. A good few of us joined then after the club campaign last year, but I haven’t played competitively for Galway.”