Tuesday 17 September 2019

Barry hopes history can repeat itself for the next generation in Tipperary

James Barry, here lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup, believes Tipperary U-20s can repeat what he and several of his current team-mates did back in 2010 after the senior success. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
James Barry, here lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup, believes Tipperary U-20s can repeat what he and several of his current team-mates did back in 2010 after the senior success. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Tipperary's All-Ireland final wins are bedecked with tradition.

Last Sunday night, they followed the path of several Tipp teams before them and headed for Rody Bolands pub in Rathmines. The following day they continued the most noble of GAA customs and visited the sick children in Crumlin and Temple Street hospitals with Liam MacCarthy. After that, they gathered at the Palace bar on Fleet street in Dublin's city centre for a rousing rendition of Sliabh na mBan.

A consistent thread ran throughout the celebrations. Liam Sheedy repeatedly hailed the power of the collective. Of the 40 players who started out back in November, he said, all of them were still part of the extended panel last weekend.

Perhaps James Barry was the epitome of that. In the build-up to the final, he realised he wasn't going to win his place back from Barry Heffernan. He could have thrown the head. It was a close call and at 29, there mightn't be too many more chances to play on the biggest day.

Experience

But experience of two previous finals informed him he had a responsibility to contribute.

"It (not starting) is hard," he agreed. "But I have been on the other side. I have been starting in the lead-up to two All-Ireland finals.

"In 2014 Michael Cahill wasn't starting because he was coming back from injury and the energy he gave to the group… you take learnings from that. I'm one of the most experienced lads on the panel so I learned from that. And I have seen lads who have given to the group.

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"In 2016 we had Conor O'Brien and Paddy Stapleton, who had hurled for years with Tipp and weren't starting in the final. The energy they gave… You learn from that. You go through different stages of your career that you are not always going to be starting, but you have a role to play."

There was another strand to his perspective too. His father, Seamus, hurled with Tipp during the lean period of the 1970s and '80s. His message was simple. Soon it will all be over, meaning even the few minutes he was afforded in the final as a blood sub for Paudie Maher were to be appreciated.

"That's the thing. He knew I wasn't going to be playing in the build-up but he'd often say, regardless of whether you are playing or not, to run out on the field in the blue and gold no matter what number you wear on All-Ireland final day, is a special moment. It is important that you enjoy the day."

For Tipp, there's an echo about 2010 this week. Back then, they swept to an All-Ireland title before blitzing Galway in the U21 final six days later. Barry was on that U21 team.

"Ken Hogan was the manager of the (U21) team. I actually didn't go to the (senior) game, I watched it in Thurles. Ken said to us, 'go out tonight and enjoy yourselves lads, but only go out on the Sunday night'.

"We trained on the Tuesday and in fairness to all the (senior) lads, Paudie and Brendan (Maher) and the rest, they all came back training on the Tuesday. It was a big week for Tipp and it's the same this week, it's important that we row in behind the likes of Jake (Morris) and Jerome and the lads preparing for Saturday. This is a week they can remember for the rest of their lives."

Then it was off to take part in the Tipperary traditions.

"These days don't come around too often, so it's important to enjoy it. I was here in 2014 (after they lost the final), it was a quieter room. So it is nice to enjoy and it's important to take it all in."

Irish Independent

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