What would Loughmore-Castleiney do if they hadn't another game?

'We’ll get the bodies right and get the footballs out during the week and we’ll focus on next Sunday'
What would Loughmore-Castleiney do if they hadn't another game?

John McGrath, right, and Tomás McGrath of Loughmore/Castleiney celebrate after their side's victory in the Tipperary SHC. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

With Loughmore-Castleiney there’s always another game. Even now with December approaching, there’s another game.

What about the most recent one, though?

“We didn’t find our best form early on,” said Loughmore manager Frankie McGrath after Sunday's SHC final win.

“We had a few wides, the character of the team is unquestionable. It wasn’t going our way in the first half but we kept our composure and we were confident that we would find our range and continue to trouble Sarsfields.

“Of course there is a lot of tension. Two local teams, a lot at stake. Sarsfields in their own way have a lot of pressure, kingpins of Tipperary hurling for many years.

“There is an expectation associated with them. We were in the final last year and it didn’t work out, so there is another expectation in that. There was bound to be tension.

“And a greasy ball as well. I hope there was enough of good stuff in there to keep the people at home entertained.”

And now onto the other games. A Munster club SFC game next weekend, for instance.

“We’ll get the bodies right and get the footballs out during the week and we’ll focus on next Sunday,” said John McGrath.

“Maybe it’s not done terribly often, we’re probably not used to 17 weeks in a row but we’re used to playing a good few weeks in a row, and it’s credit to the management, especially Murtagh Brennan who does the S and C — they’ve really taken control of it and lads have bought into it.

“We’re fresh every weekend. The football game last week was fantastic preparation for this weekend.

“If we didn’t have a game — I don’t know, we had a focus every weekend and it is that little bit easier to find the energy when the results are going your way.

“We’ll stay going for as many weeks as we can and we won’t make excuses.”

They’ll celebrate the hurling win, though.

“We did a bit of a stretch after the (football) game,” said John McGrath.

“We didn’t have a mad celebration or anything but we all gathered that evening for a couple of hours, things like that have to be celebrated. They’re special, and they’re very hard-won, these competitions.

“Nobody is playing them to go home after the match and stare at the four walls.

“You have to enjoy those days because it’s seldom they come around. It’s 2016 since we won it last, we’ve had a lot of heartbreak since then and it’s easy to look back to last year.”

The defeats in last year’s county finals were “in the back of their minds”, he added.

“It wasn’t hugely spoken about but it was something everyone had in the back of their minds. It’s some difference in 12 months, when lads were being picked up off the ground two weeks in a row.

“That’s why these days are so special, the whole parish is here.

“We’re nearly in December but where else would you want to be?”

Now for another switch, from hurling back to football.

“Looking in from the outside, it’s something that a lot of people are fascinated by, how we manage it and how we do it,” said John McGrath.

“Week to week — we didn’t hurl at all after the drawn game, we had two sessions of football and the match last Sunday; the same this week, hurling for the week.

“It’s very hard to put your finger on it, maybe lads are tipping away at home, but we’re at it a while and lads are used to it.

“I don’t think leaving the hurley down for a couple of days will impact hugely, it’s about getting the body right for the physical challenge every weekend.”

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