Wednesday 26 September 2018

'Going away cements an attitude towards wanting it'

Wexford star Guiney believes his year in the US has sharpened his desire for glory

Jack Guiney is confident there is more to come from Wexford even after their fine start to the year. Photo: Sportsfile
Jack Guiney is confident there is more to come from Wexford even after their fine start to the year. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Jack Guiney's father Dave is hurling's great story of perseverance.

Dave Guiney was on the Wexford panel for 13 seasons before he got his first championship start in 2003. Despite being a part of the All-Ireland-winning panel in 1996, he could never quite break into the team.

And even when he did get his chance, fate intervened.

"He got his first start in 2003 against Waterford; he was 32 or 33 maybe," Jack says. "He was on the panel for 13 years before he got his start.

"He came from a small club and he would be very much an example of fighting against the chances. He actually was on the team in 1993 and they went to a few replays against Cork in the league and I was born on the day of one of the replays.

"My mother was in labour and she told him to go ahead to the match. He was in a car crash on the way to the match and my auntie got two speeding fines and he ended up with concussion and couldn't play the match.

"And he never got his place back on the team after that. He had to wait 13 years to get back on the team again. He can blame me for messing up his career there a small bit."

Different

By Jack's own admission, father and son are different characters. In a hurling sense, things have come a lot easier to Jack.

A talented underage player, he was fast-tracked into the senior panel and made his debut in 2012, but it hasn't been plain sailing since.

In 2015 he was dropped from the panel for a breach of discipline and the following season he headed for the United States for a summer.

After being dropped in 2015, he responded by hitting 4-5 (4-4 from play) for his club the same week. But he admits he would be unlikely to stick it out in the way his father did.

"I probably wouldn't to be honest, no. I think there's very little reward for players on the periphery of the thing. It takes a fair character.

"You do need your number 34s and 35s and you need them more than lads that are playing to drive on training and stuff.

"But it takes a fair attitude to stick in the training and the hours and stuff if you are not getting game time.

"It was something he felt he had to do I suppose, he absolutely loves hurling. He has a love for hurling and he probably had it more than his brother (Rod, who was also part of the 1996 panel).

"He just absolutely loves hurling and felt it was something he wanted to do. He's some man to put his mind to something and achieve it. He was on the '96 panel but I think 1993 and playing the games was a bigger deal for him.

"I've seen him mark the likes of DJ (Carey) and John Mullane and DJ will tell you himself he was a hard man to mark. He was just a dog, whereas I would have a different attitude."

Jack insists that what he's saying shouldn't be misconstrued as a lack of passion for the game or Wexford.

That would be a minimum requirement to be part of a Davy Fitzgerald squad. But he reckons the year in the US has served him well.

"The mind is focused now. The focus is singular. A year away from big days with Wexford serves to only sharpen the desire.

"Even talking to Paudie Foley; he did the same trip I did in 2016 last year in 2017, and he said he ended up going to a bar or whatever to watch the games.

"You are watching Wexford playing and when they are doing well you do kind of kick yourself, and even when they are doing bad you are kind of kicking yourself as well.

"He (Foley) had that last year and he's back in the fray this year and is a big addition.

"You don't want to miss out on it (the trip), you'd probably wake up when you are 40 and if you don't do it you'll look back and you'll say 'why didn't I?'

"I went to San Fran and did a bit of travelling around California. Did a bit of hurling out there, it was a good trip.

"There was a good lot of lads playing in the championship out there; Declan Hannon, Gearoid Hegarty, Diarmaid Byrnes (all Limerick) - a good crew of us. Brian Carroll (Offaly) and Patrick Cronin (Cork) were playing with us as well. Niall O'Brien from Westmeath, (Stephen) 'Picky' Maher from Laois. There was a high standard.

"It took me a while to find my feet last year after missing a year of inter-county hurling and it takes a while to get back up to the pace.

"But I'm glad I did it, I was in Boston as well for a summer when I was 18. I'm glad I did it. I think the level of commitment that it has gone to now, you really have to want to do it. I think going away kind of cements an attitude towards wanting to do it.

"If you are humming and hawing about it a small bit and you are not fully tuned into it, it might be the right thing to do.

"You come back refreshed and more energised and stuff like that. You really want to be there when you do come back."

Guiney's back now and part of the revolution.

Wexford have made a bright start to life back in the top flight with two wins from two, but Guiney is confident there is a lot more to come.

"It's probably an old saying like - winning is a habit. It's easy to say we're in that habit now, it's early days.

"We probably didn't have that winning mentality last year. If you look at the great Kilkenny team, every game they played, they were going to do anything to win it.

"If they were winning they were going to try and win by more. They were beating teams by 30 and 40 points. We probably haven't clicked into that psyche at all or anything near it yet."

Meanwhile, Tipperary have made five changes from their team that beat Waterford in the last round for tomorrow's match, with Daragh Mooney, James Barry, Michael Cahill and Barry Heffernan all getting a first start of the current campaign.

Irish Independent

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