Hungry Jason Forde drives hard for a shot at Treaty
FOR Jason Forde, a debut season whipped by in an instant. Tipperary lost to Kilkenny in Nowlan Park and that was it. It was still only the first week in July, but 2013 was over.
If it left him with an empty feeling, the Silvermines man can be forgiven. Illness forced him out of the Munster championship game against Limerick and the back-door draw that sent them to Kilkenny could hardly have been more cruel. A year's work and a lifetime's ambition breezed past in 20 Nowlan Park minutes when he was introduced as a substitute.
Since then he's been straining at the leash for another chance, but he sat on the bench as Kilkenny again proved to be their nemesis in the league final. Considering Tipp had only scraped into the quarter-finals, it felt like they were going in the right direction at least, but according to Forde, the panel viewed it differently.
"We addressed key points where things could be improved, but after that, it was just put the shoulder to the wheel and go back training again," he said. "Moral victories aren't any good to us.
"We've been close to Kilkenny over the last years and there's only been a puck of a ball in it, but when you don't win, it's disappointing. Every team wants to win. We reviewed and went straight back to training."
This weekend Forde might get a shot at Limerick, though competition for places in the Tipp forward line is fierce. He was named to start in the Gaelic Grounds last summer, but cried off the morning of the game. Considering the brevity of Tipp's summer, it has irked him since.
"I'd a stomach bug the night before, so that was a bit of a disaster – especially as it was only my first championship start.
"I got on to the bus on the Sunday morning and I just went up to Eamon and told him. I knew that something wasn't right.
"I had a chat with the doc and, with the heat that was there that day, he said there was no chance for me and I'd only last a few minutes. They pulled the plug then.
"It was a huge disappointment. I'd only played bits of games in the league. It was a big, big thing for me. To have it taken away through illness was a big thing for me."
It's an encounter Tipp might have won, but will have little influence on Sunday, according to Forde.
"We had the chances to win the game. We missed a few in the first half and maybe our intensity wasn't up to Limerick's. These games always come down to small things.
We're going to be looking to go out there and get our intensity levels up and then our hurling will flow."