Paul Curran was no different to the rest of the hurling world waiting to hear word about Lar Corbett’s inter-county future.
Hours before Tipperary played Clare in a senior challenge news filtered through the former Hurler of the Year was back in the county fold.
Captain Curran was surprised. And delighted.
He admitted: “I didn’t see it coming. That Sunday lads had asked me was he coming back, and I said, ‘Jesus, not a hope, it’s too late now’. And that evening I heard he was. So the next time I’ll meet that man, he’ll be saying, ‘you’re the greatest liar ever!’
“It’s great news he’s back but Larry knows he’s well away from being up to the championship pace. I know it’s an amateur sport but we train nearly semi-professionally and he’s done very little with his club. He looked trim enough (at his first session last week) but compared to hurling or fitness-wise or gym-work, he’s well behind.”
The storm that developed in the wake of Corbett’s retirement was one that Curran and his Tipperary teammates neatly side-stepped.
“I suppose in the team situation, we’re all kind of selfish individuals and he was never really mentioned. It was all about looking after your own corner, trying to get on the team and on the panel.”
For now the focus is firmly on Sunday’s opening championship assignment when Limerick come to Thurles for a Munster showdown. Does the captaincy lead to greater pressure?
“I’ve had to adjust and that’s important, too, as a player — you always have to adjust,’’ Curran said. “But it took me a while to get into the role because there’s a little bit more responsibility, you have to liaise with management and with players. I wouldn’t have been a vocal player, I wouldn’t be a Paul O’Connell. There are other senior guys there who would be more vocal so you let them do their part, that’s the way they work to get themselves up but everyone’s different. I’d be just relaxing, I’d be chilling and looking at the programme before a match.”
The Mullinahone man declared himself fully fit after a knee injury ruled him out of the League semi-final defeat to Cork. But he revealed he had some anxious moments in recent weeks.
“I picked up a knee injury in a club game a couple of weeks ago and fractured the bone but everything’s okay now. I played on, there was about 10 minutes to go and maybe I shouldn’t have. It was only that night that it started to swell up and I started to panic then, you’re always thinking of the worst. Thank God I got good news then, I didn’t need an operation anyway. So that was fine. We played Carrick Swans last week with the club.
“It’s nice to go back because I’ve got three brothers as well so just to go back, it gives us a good break as well. I love going back because the club game, it can be tribal at times. Carrick had a huge following that night and you get a good thrill out of it.”
Meanwhile Munster GAA have teamed up with Iarnród Éireann to provide Limerick supporters with discounts of up to 70% on their match and train tickets for Sunday’s double-header in Semple Stadium. Full details can be found on the Munster GAA and Irish Rail websites.
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