Wednesday 11 December 2019

Limerick players have no intention of just slipping back into the shadows, insists Browne

Limerick's Paul Browne aims to silence doubters
Limerick's Paul Browne aims to silence doubters
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Limerick midfielder Paul Browne believes some people want the county to "slip back into the shadows" following last year's Munster championship success.

Ahead of Sunday's clash with Tipperary at Semple Stadium, Browne is aghast at the rating of Limerick's prospects going into this year's championship after their breakthrough Munster success of last summer.

And the Bruff midfielder didn't hold back his views, insisting the current panel is "too good of a group" to fall back down the pecking order, even after the upheaval that came with the departure of joint-manager Donal O'Grady.

"This year, if there's any pressure coming, it's coming from within, because if you were to read papers or listen to the radio or any of that, we're back down and rated seventh or eighth again in Ireland," said Browne.

"We haven't done a whole pile wrong to be put back down there. The league, okay, we had a setback, but the league is the league at the end of the day.

"It doesn't matter too much coming into the championship; the pressure is from within.

"To be honest people just want us to slip away back into the shadows now.

"Limerick have their medal or their trophy and they just want us to slip away. 'Lads, stay quiet there for the next 10 years or whatever it is and come back to us then. We'd love to see you in the Gaelic Grounds with all the scenes again'.

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"But we're not interested in any of that carry-on. We're too good a group and we've too good a bond to be interested in those kind of things."

The success of Clare last year was "100pc deserved," according to Browne, though it was simultaneously galling and a motivating factor.

Through his work as Gaelic Games Development Officer in Limerick IT, Browne comes in regular contact with Davy Fitzgerald.

Like the Clare manager, Browne doesn't have size on his side, but the 24-year-old is quickly carving out a reputation for himself as a complete midfield operator, despite usually competing against bigger men.

When 'Cha' Fitzpatrick retired prematurely from Kilkenny, he referenced the move towards the bigger players in the middle third.

"I think it has moved on a small bit again. I wouldn't be the physically biggest midfielder, but I don't feel out of place in there.

"I just think work rate is the most important attribute a midfielder can have now, because you have to be able to get those flicks in, get the hooks in and help out your defence."

So, Browne has made a habit of confounding the odds and wants Limerick to do the same as rank outsiders against Tipp on Sunday – and put a halt to the sometimes 'boom bust' nature of the county's fortunes.

"We want to prove ourselves. We have to really to be honest or else we've let ourselves down. It's a major driving force.

"The training's gone excellently so far this year, regardless of whatever controversies. We're ready to drive on now again.

"Playing in Thurles, I love playing there to be honest. You hear this myth and this hoodoo about Limerick in Thurles – haven't won a game in so long.

"It holds no sway with this group of players. We'll relish the challenge, even though it's huge now to be playing Tipperary in Thurles – the same as playing Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds would be a huge challenge. Your home ground is your cauldron; you make it that way.

"Last year was kind of a watershed moment for us, yet this year we may as well not have won Munster at all, to be honest, from talking to people.

"We'd be rated below everyone again this year, I think, if you were to ask a lot of people. I can't see how. It's annoying. It brings a pressure in itself to prove ourselves again."

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