Seán Finn: Better discipline one box to tick on Limerick’s road to perfection

While Finn is one of three Limerick players nominated for the Hurler of the Year award, he reckons he doesn’t actually deserve such an award at this stage of his career
Seán Finn: Better discipline one box to tick on Limerick’s road to perfection

MODEST OUTLOOK: Speaking at the launch of the 20th Student Enterprise Programme, Seán Finn expressed surprise at being shortlisted for the Hurler of the Year award. ‘I think I have a lot more to do to put myself in the bracket of winning that title,’ he said. Picture: Cathal Noonan

It may sound like trying to touch up the Mona Lisa, to improve on near perfection, but Seán Finn is adamant that Limerick have the potential to be even better in 2022.

For Finn, that pursuit of excellence begins on an individual level and while he is one of three Limerick players nominated for the Hurler of the Year award, he’s adamant that he still has so much more to learn.

In fact, the three-time All-Star defender reckons he doesn’t actually deserve such an award at this stage of his career.

“Do I consider myself at that level? I don’t, to be fair,” he said at the launch of the 20th Student Enterprise Programme. “I think I have a lot more to do to put myself in the bracket of winning that title. Look, maybe it’s something to aim towards. At the moment, I can see that I have a lot to improve on.”

Finn is up against Cian Lynch and Kyle Hayes for the top individual award.

While they are two visible figures in most games, playing central roles in the middle third for Limerick, Finn often operates in the shadows at corner-back, hustling and harrying and chasing. On some of his best afternoons of spoiling, he can fly under the radar so his nomination in itself is a little victory.

“Yeah, I suppose if you look back on previous winners, they’re ordinarily in pivotal positions on the field, up in the forwards or in midfield,” he said. “Corner-backs or full-backs don’t really get that recognition over the last number of years. In the corner-back club, we’re happy to see someone representing that area.

“I don’t see myself in that bracket, that calibre of player, yet. It took me by surprise that I was nominated.”

General discipline may be another area for Limerick to brush up on. It was felt they were fortunate to finish the Munster final with 15 players and Finn spoke at the time about needing to up their game considerably. High free counts and dismissals affected Limerick in the National League campaign too.

“Yeah, possibly an area for improvement,” nodded Finn, looking to 2022.

“Look, we play the game at a high intensity and you’re going to commit frees and fouls, it’s just a matter of being a bit more disciplined in the tackle, a bit more composed and to try to not give away silly frees. You want to force the opposition to do something, to make a decision and not give him a free 60 yards out where a player can just pop it over the bar.

“Of course it’s an area of improvement we have chatted about and that we’ve considered, to try to improve on.”

Limerick did lose Peter Casey to a red card in the All-Ireland semi-final but he was subsequently cleared on appeal. Finn believes they generally improved discipline-wise after the provincial final.

“We tried to control...as the saying goes, to control the controllables, and that’s definitely something that we can do going forward and how we respect the referee and how we actually....again, it’s discipline in the tackle. It’s something we can improve on.”

That’s what it’s all ultimately about for Finn, being in control and sticking to a process. Week after week. Year after year.

“It is a process-driven machine. We try to eliminate the emotional side of things, which can be quite inconsistent. We just take it game by game and look to focus on our own performance and if we do perform to a level that we expect of ourselves, then we will be in with a good chance.”

Some things, however, are simply outside of anyone’s control.

Like attackers Casey and Barry Murphy suffering cruciate knee ligament injuries. Finn has come back from the same injury, as has fellow defender Richie English.

“Have we been unlucky? I think we have been unlucky,” said Finn of Limerick’s cruciate curse before urging Casey and Murphy to try to take the positives from the experience. “From my own perspective, it gave me the opportunity to travel for a while. I got out of the GAA bubble that often at times you can get trapped in and you think all that’s out there is the GAA. So, for me, it gave me the opportunity to go away and do things I wouldn’t likely have been able to do.”

- The Student Enterprise Programme is now in its 20th year. An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices to encourage entrepreneurship in secondary schools, the Student Enterprise Programme has seen over 300,000 secondary school students take part since it first began.

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