Jackie Tyrrell: Inspirational speech ‘from the heart’

On Jackie Tyrrell’s words, Kilkenny unleashed hell, although he’s a little embarrassed by the acclaim that’s come his way courtesy of Colin Fennelly’s revelation.

“There’s been a bit made of it,” he says of his half-time oration to his team-mates. “Some of it has been overhyped. I spoke from the heart. I tried to motivate the boys and show the opportunity that they had in front of them.”

He doesn’t know if he would have stood up and spoken if he was playing but he had been struck by how silent the dressing room was.

“I knew they had the squeeze on us and should have been more up. That was what I stressed to the lads, what an opportunity we had. We hadn’t got going at all and we were only a few points down.

“It was an eye-opener but in fairness to the lads, I only said the words. They had to go out and do the business. And by God, they did.”

Tyrrell admits he wouldn’t have previously be known for his speeches.

“I’d say I never have (given a talk). I didn’t go in to say, ‘Right, I’m going to let these lads have it’. I just went in and there was a deadness about it, there was a casualness about it so I just said... ‘Jesus, it was like we were waiting for it to happen’. Something needs to be said. I just started talking and before you know it, I was in the middle of it.”

Having suffered a metatarsal injury in his right foot and on crutches at minimum 15 days prior to Sunday’s final, it was a small miracle that Tyrrell was even togged out and fit to be a sub.

Yet Brian Cody had told him he was first in if the manager felt there was a tactical or injury substitution to be made in the defence.

In his stead, Shane Prendergast had deputised well and while Tyrrell was delighted for him this, Tyrrell’s ninth All-Ireland title, was a tad bittersweet, having not been involved in a playing capacity.

“It’s a bit different, alright. You want to be playing, you want to be out there but to say nine (medals) this morning is unbelievable. That makes it very sweet.” Speaking in the team’s CityWest Hotel yesterday, Tyrrell wouldn’t be drawn on his future plans.

In the same place last September, he declared himself ready for another season. “I wouldn’t say I’d be as adamant here now. I’ll have to weigh up everything.

“Obviously the foot comes into consideration, I have to go back to the surgeon. I know I am not finished with him yet. t’s just the option I took was a very quick fix method. Just putting a screw in it. Ideally you just put it in a boot and let the bone mend back together. The surgeon said you could more than likely be back to me after this. I’ll just have to see over the next couple of days with the club. We will have to see and look at it all.”

Turning 33 next June, the James Stephens man acknowledges age might be catching up on him a little. “You look at the pace of the game, the age profile. You have to weigh up the whole thing, your personal life, things like that. I will think about all that over the next few months.

“Maybe pace isn’t the right word: but the non-stop intensity. I don’t think it was any faster than the previous All-Irelands but the rate of turnover of the ball is just phenomenal. The time you have on the ball (is so short), lads are just on top of you. Just looking at it on Sunday, that was jumped out at me. Even Galway against Tipperary as well, the sheer intensity, especially around the middle of the field is massive.

“It’s fairly cut-throat (at corner back). It’s either you or him. Out the field, you could hit five balls, your man could hit five balls. he either wins it and puts it over the bar or you clear it. It’s pretty straightforward like that.

“In the position that I play, if you’re a forward you could get away with maybe a small bit more. It’s unforgiving. It’s a high-risk position but you kind of love it as well.” But then there is the carrot of joining Henry Shefflin as a 10-time All-Ireland winner in 2016. “Absolutely. You want to go back for the right reasons. You want to go back to play. I’d rather win playing than not playing. I haven’t given it a huge amount of thought but what has happened in the last couple of weeks is a factor.”


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