Tyrrell sees tenth appeal but admits his Cats future is uncertain
Just under a year ago in the same Citywest Hotel where Kilkenny were celebrating a 10th All-Ireland hurling title of the Brian Cody-era, Jackie Tyrrell was quick to commit to another season.
On the morning after their replay win over Tipperary, the James Stephens man wasted no time putting his hand up for another tour of duty, despite the wave of retirements that perhaps inevitably followed.
But with a ninth All-Ireland medal bagged, drawing level with Noel Hickey, Tommy Walsh and JJ Delaney, Tyrrell (right) admitted yesterday he won't be rushing into any similar quick commitment to pursue a 10th, the mark that Henry Shefflin signed off on earlier this year.
A stress fracture in his foot sustained in July that effectively kept him out of the remainder of the championship has placed a question mark in his mind.
"I wouldn't say I'd be as adamant here now. I'll have to weigh up everything. Obviously the foot comes into consideration, I have to go back to the surgeon. I know I am not finished with him yet," he said. "The option I took was a very quick-fix method," he revealed, "just putting a screw in it."
Tyrrell is satisfied that such an option wasn't in any way career-threatening and the worst-case scenario is that the screw could break, requiring a bone graft and three months' recuperation.
"Ideally you just put it in a boot and let the bone mend back together. The surgeon said you could more than likely be back to me after this. I'll just have to see over the next couple of weeks, look at it all," he said, admitting the prospect of getting to double-figures had its obvious attraction. "Definitely, but you want to go back for the right reasons. You want to go back to play. I'd rather win one playing than not. I haven't given it a huge amount of thought but definitely, what has happened in the last couple of weeks is a factor."
Tyrrell admitted the increasing intensity of the game will also be a factor, the fact that he is a specialist corner-back making him more vulnerable to exposure as the years get on. "You look at the pace of the game, the age profile," he said. "You have to weigh up the whole thing, your personal life, things like that. I'll think about all that over the next few months. It's non-stop intensity. I don't think it was any faster than the previous All-Irelands but the rate of turnover of the ball is just phenomenal. The time you have on the ball, lads are just on top of you.
"It's fairly cut-throat," he added of playing corner-back, echoing Willie O'Connor's observations 15 years earlier. "It's either you or him. Out the field you could hit five balls, your man could hit five balls. He either wins it and puts it over the bar or you clear it. It's pretty straightforward like that.
"In the position I play (corner-back) - if you were a forward you could get away with a small bit more - it's unforgiving (corner-back), it's a high-risk position but you love it as well."
Tyrrell said the impact of his half-time speech has been overplayed after Cody and his management left the room and left it to the players.
"I didn't go in to say, 'I'm going let these lads have it'. I just went in and there was a deadness about it, a casualness about it and I just said, 'It's like we're waiting for it to happen, something needs to be said'. I just started talking and, before you know it, I was kind of in the middle of it."