SEÁN ÓG O HAILPÍN has described new Limerick boss Donal O’Grady as “the best manager I’ve played under”.
O hAilpín has also drawn parallels between Limerick hurling and Cork’s situation at the beginning of 2003 when O’Grady took charge after the first players’ strike on Leeside.
“The wily fox is back in hurling, so it’s exciting times for Limerick and exciting times for hurling in general” said O hAilpín on joe.ie.
“I’ve worked with a lot of great managers in my time and I don’t want to demean them in any way; I’ve learnt a lot from every manager I’ve played under. But Donal O’Grady is the best of the lot of them. Tactically and technically, he’s the best of them all. I’ve never seen anybody to touch him.”
He continued: “(Donal’s) a very proud, passionate man and it rubs off on players. We believed totally in Donal O’Grady and that’s why we had the success we had with him. One of the greatest hallmarks of O’Grady is that he turns average players into winners.
“A lot of what he did with Cork was back to basics stuff. He’d be thinking that if you look after the small things, the bigger things will look after themselves. Stuff you take for granted. Hooking, blocking, flicking.
“When I started playing senior, we never did any of that at training, but every training session under O’Grady you’d be concentrating on those things. O’Grady strives for perfection. If you had six balls you had to control at speed, and you missed the sixth one, he’d insist on you getting it right.
“As a back, nobody had ever shown me how to tackle properly before O’Grady came in. Before him, it was all just ‘put your hands out’, ‘make yourself big’. But he brought in small stuff that improved my play so much. The Limerick situation is similar to us at the end of 2002 in that they’re coming off a strike. If there’s anyone out there to go into that situation and turn it around, Donal O’Grady’s the man. He’ll be going in there neutral. He won’t be taking sides, never does. He’ll assess players on their merits. He’s a players’ man, but on condition that you do the work for him. If you do, he’d die for you. But if you bluff him, the show’s over.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved