Declan Hannon, captain, left, on home ground in Adare with John Kiely and Cian Lynch Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
IT’S not easy being captain of a team that is carrying the hopes of a whole county.
But that’s Declan Hannon’s job and the man from Adare GAA club is well up for it.
But neither is it easy to be the father of the captain that everybody is depending on to lead that team to glory on Sunday.
And that’s Joe Hannon’s role. He too, however, is well able to carry it off.
“You would have to be extremely proud and delighted for him and the whole team,” he says with feeling. Their success, he adds, has been very good for the sport.
“And it has lifted everyone in the county and has shortened the summer.”
He has praise for everyone involved in the senior hurling adventure of 2018, from players, to manager, selectors, back-room team, the lot.
And he has great faith in the team, whatever Sunday’s outcome. Last year, they set a foundation, he maintains, and it has stood to them this year.
But he does admit to some nerves as Sunday’s big day approaches.
“You would be a little nervous of course. I would be telling a lie otherwise. But I honestly believe, in fairness to Declan and the team, they just go about their business in a low key, professional way. And we just leave him alone.”
And because Declan no longer lives with Joe and Bridget, that is that bit easier. If his son had any questions, he would of course be there for him, Joe adds. But so far, he hasn’t had any questions. Joe is more aware than most about the scarcity of tickets.
“They are like hens’ teeth,” he says, adding that he is “on a promise” himself. But he doesn’t think it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
“The use of the word hype has been exaggerated,” he says. “Most people, genuine GAA people are embracing this week and looking forward to Sunday.”
“We have to enjoy it,” he adds. “We don’t get to All-Irelands every year. You must embrace those days you get and enjoy them.”
And he is sanguine about the effect the build-up might have on the team.
“They are well-rounded, well-grounded.”