“KEEP your feet on the ground and eyes on the stars,” GAA President Aogan O’Fearghail told Limerick’s All Ireland U-21 winning hurlers at their medal presentation in the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare.
“Everything is possible – if you can win an All Ireland U-21 title in beating the teams you did, then anything is possible but people do have to be patient,” said the GAA President to the attendance of over 250.
He referenced poet Seamus Heaney. “Keep your feet on the ground and there is no body below you and you don’t look down on anyone and keep your eyes on the stars so you are always ambitious and always improving,” O’Fearghail told the All Ireland U-21 winners. He praised their “absolute commitment and humidity”. Also among the speakers were Munster GAA Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan and Limerick GAA Chairman Oliver Mann.
”You have achieved a lot and made a lot of Limerick people proud and you have done what has proven difficult for past Limerick teams – won five championship games when favourites for all,” said Mann. ”The challenge now for you is to decide are you satisfied with what you have archived to-date and it was been a lot or are you determined to drive on and land the ultimate prize of the McCarthy Cup. I think you will because your attitude is first class but it will take time. I ask people to be patient – If your club won a county premier U-21 championship this year 2017, would you expect them to win a county senior title in 2018 if they had not won one for a number of years,” said the Limerick chairman.
Limerick captain Tom Morrissey and manager Pat Donnelly also made speeches. ”For most of us we moved on from U-21 and we set out on a new journey on the senior stage. We understand that what happened in the past is just underage success – I know we look forward to our new journey and are a hugely committed bunch and we do have a real strong belief that we can achieve great success at senior level in the future,” said Morrissey.
Pat Donnelly referenced top jockey AP McCoy. “Joe McKenna said to me at the start of the year when I was asked to take the job that I had the best team in the country – no pressure! I read AP McCoy's book and I’m not a big reader of books, but I read his book and one thing stood out – he rode Paul Nicholls horses and a lot of them he said all he had to do was sit up on them and they did all the rest and I think that’s similar to this team we took over this year – they were the best team and there was very little work to be done. All the work was done since they picked up a hurley at underage,” said Donnelly.