LIMERICK selector Jimmy Quilty has worked ‘through the pain barrier’ enroute to the All Ireland U-21 final.
On July 16 Quilty leapt from the sideline bench in celebration as Limerick beat Tipperary in the Munster U-21 semi final.
He reached to embrace with John Kiely but his left leg buckled beneath him. As the celebrations continued, a seat was brought from the dressing rooms to help ease his pain. Within days his worst fears were confirmed and surgery was required to repair his ruptured achilles tendon.
“Anyone that would know me would know I’m injury prone!” jokes Quilty.
“It’s quietened me - I have been banished to the stand for the games. I am beginning to walk now again so I can take more of a part in training and drills. I devised some of the training sessions but I wasn’t able to part take in them until the last few weeks,” explained the Blackrock club-man.
Last year Quilty coached Ballyea as they won the Cork intermediate title and returned to the senior ranks.
“It’s once in a lifetime - when Limerick call you don’t turn it down. That’s the way I would look at it. I don’t think any of the four of us in the management have the time to really do this but you make the time,” he said.
“I didn’t know what it would be like dealing with county players, regarding commitment to the jersey like at club level, but this is the tightest bunch of lads I have every seen. I don’t know if it’s common at inter-county level but I have never seen a team so tight. Gearoid (Hegarty) and a few of the boys are at the 21-age mark but a lot of the guys are together since Tony Forristal U-14. You have Doon guys best friends with Na Piarsaigh guys and guys from Bruff friends with guys from Knockaderry,” he outlined in praise of the players.
Limerick have defied the odds to date, but Quilty feels improvement is needed.
“We have improved from every game, from Tipp to Clare, from Clare to Galway - a gradual 5-10% improvement and I think we will need another 5-10% again to beat Wexford. Are we capable of beating them? Of course we are but we need to bring our A game if we are to carry it out.”