As Lar Corbett puts it, he’ll “probably never get any high” like readying himself for an All-Ireland final.
He embraced the expectation: “I thought it always was a privilege to be under pressure.”
But where others like Richie Power have struggled to park their inter-county career, the 35-year-old had no difficulty in stepping away.
“I started working for myself in 2011. Working for yourself, if you kind of think about what happened last week or think about happened six months ago, you’re kind of taking your eye off the ball.
“Looking at the hurling at inter-county level, you have to give that 100%, it’s nearly like work. I think it was very important that when I retired I said ‘it’s over now’, concentrate on what’s next and what’s next is your business and how you’re going to incorporate that.”
Looking as fit as he was last year when he threatened to be Tipperary’s saviour against Galway, there’s every chance Corbett could still do a job for his county at the very least coming off the bench. He smiles at the thought.
“I’m delighted that you’re after asking that question because I’d hate to be sitting here today and you saying: ‘Lar, what about those who were saying you should have given it up two years ago?’ So, always leave when you wanted. Across the board in life. Brilliant. Thanks!”
It worries him that a lot of people fancy Tipperary to end Kilkenny’s three-in-a-row aspirations.
He marvels at how low-key the Cats have been in the build-up. Just because Waterford brought them to a second date doesn’t make them any more beatable, Corbett warns.
“Yeah, I think that is the rock that Tipp could perish on. And the reason I say that is the amount of people I have met up and down the country who say this is not the same Kilkenny team. I can’t understand that. They are going for three in a row.
“If Tipp think they have an advantage because Michael Fennelly is not playing, that is another rock they could perish on because there are players who will step in to fill that gap.
“Kilkenny are coming back in again, coming back in under the radar and exactly what you are saying, that is what people are thinking around the country. Brian (Cody) would love to hear that. They are the best team in the country for the last three years, they are going for three in a row and nothing has changed. If anything, they are getting a little stronger.”
He knows Tipperary supporters have a tendency to get ahead of themselves. “There is a lot of hype and sometimes we are probably a little bit too sure of ourselves, of what we are trying to think what is going to happen next. Kilkenny are in a great position, everyone in Kilkenny is talking their team down; people in Tipperary are talking our team up and the momentum seems to be with Tipperary.”
Corbett, though, is buoyed by what he’s seen of Tipperary this summer.
Moments stick in his head — his club-mate Pádraic Maher emptying Joe Canning over a sideline in the semi-final; Brendan Maher doing something similar to Kevin Moran in the Munster final.
“I can’t remember what Tipp were up at the time but that just said: ‘Lads, it’s not for you today’.”
Their intensity, he says, is the best it’s ever been.
“This year you can see a difference about Tipperary — their aggression levels are very, very high compared to any other year and that has been mentioned through the whole year. So they have the belief that they know they can perform, they just have to get it on the biggest day of all, that’s what you’re looking for.”
Goals will be needed but Corbett won’t put a figure on how many.
“I always try and think that you have to try and create goal opportunities and I think it’s more important to think that way than scoring goals. Over a period of time, if you keep having that mental attitude that you’re going to create goal opportunities, and if everyone thinks the same, then the goals will just happen.
“Tipp have to create goal opportunities on Sunday. So, for instance, if you’re on an average of creating four, five or six goal chances a game, you’ll always get one or two, you could get lucky and get five but that’s the one thing you’d be looking for straight away. If the ball is bouncing around 30 yards out, if it’s on the 21, you can’t be happy just to hit the ball over the bar.”
Former Tipperary Hurler Lar Corbett, was speaking at the launch of the eir Sport Sports Book of the Year 2016. The eir Sport Sports Book of the Year, now in its second year, will once again seek to find the best sports book published by an Irish author in 2016, or sports book with an Irish subject matter.
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