Dual star Kennedy thrilled to justify small-ball call
Published 08/09/2016 | 02:30
In some ways, Seamus Kennedy is the story within the story of Tipperary's return to the top of the tree in hurling.
Last Sunday was essentially the result of non-stop action since he went training with the Tipp footballers ahead of the 2015 season.
Kennedy went from the Premier footballers to Clonmel's historic run all the way to an All-Ireland club football semi-final early this year. Soon after there was more new ground to be broken when he helped Mary I win their first Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup title.
It was back in with the county hurlers then. He made his intentions to concentrate on the small-ball code clear but by the end of the league, he hadn't played a minute for the hurlers.
And to those on the outside, it looked like Kennedy, who had carved out a reputation for himself as an excellent footballer, had backed the wrong horse.
But by the time Tipp's championship opener rolled around, Kennedy was in the team. A whirlwind few months later, he had started on the winning team in an All-Ireland final.
"Sometimes things break for you and I was absolutely blessed this year that things broke for me and thankfully it went well. It's been a dream year," he says.
His situation was complicated, however, when the Tipp footballers went on their run. Part of him wanted to be there with them, but making the hurling team was always the goal.
"Anyone who knows me knows that hurling has always been my first love and speaking with the likes of Michael (Quinlivan) and Ian (Fahey) and Bill (Maher), they knew that if I got this opportunity that I was going to give the hurling a go," he says.
"It wasn't easy. . . It is a tough decision when you are leaving friends like that but it was something I was always going to do. I made a call at the end of the year and I had to stick to my guns and thankfully it all kind of paid off.
"But I was absolutely thrilled for the footballers, I was probably their biggest fan up in Croke Park."
There will be little rest. There's club action with St Mary's in hurling and Clonmel in football just around the corner, which means that save for a couple of weeks around Christmas, he'll have been on the go for close to two full years before his calendar clears up.
"So much has happened that I haven't had time to think about anything," he adds, "and please God I'll be back in club action again and can keep it going again, but it's been wonderful."
Meanwhile, Dublin county board chairman Sean Shanley has revealed that they have nailed down Ger Cunningham as their manager for next year, saying: "He informed us that he was happy to stay on as the hurling manager for another year."