By Brian McDonnell
Thurles Sarsfields manager Séamus Quinn looked a relieved man following his side’s titanic tussle with defending champions Drom & Inch.
“That’s a sweet one,” Séamus Quinn admitted.
“I am just after coming out of the Drom dressing room - their manager came in and said some lovely words. It was about Tipperary hurling and where we want to get to. Everybody was saying that was a good county final. It’s hard to appreciate it when you’re on the line, but for us there is a sense of pride after coming through a battle like that. With ten minutes go to we would have taken a draw, but there is character in that team; there are leaders there. No greater lad than the captain today and you need that savage leadership.”
Séamus Quinn was joined on the Thurles Sarsfields management team by coach Garry Mernagh and selectors Brendan Carroll and Noel Fogarty.
“A lot of people had questioned the run in we got and that we hadn’t got a challenge,” Séamus Quinn told the Tipperary Star.
“We knew the challenge we were going to get today. But to come back and the character they showed when they did come back; a lot of people would have written us off at that stage. It is about leadership and belief and even the lads we brought in. We have a strong panel there. They all delivered and we can’t ask for anything more.
“Somebody said there that you must have a good heart!
“I doubted it there at one stage. There was a ball that went across the square there, Séamus Callanan hit it and your life would flash before you! It was one of those moments. You need breaks like that. If that went in it could have been a different story and back to the drawing board again.”
Like so many of the individuals associated with the success of this Thurles Sarsfields team Séamus Quinn is ambitious. And, Thurles’ next challenge will be on Sunday, October 28th when they face Limerick champions Kilmallock.
“In the last few years we have been successful, but you want to get to the next level,” Séamus Quinn said.
“You have to get to this stage first; you have to win your own county final. We’ve done that. We’ll celebrate tonight and then look forward to Kilmallock.
“We were there two years ago and came away with a win. It could have gone either way - they drove an awful lot of wides that day. It’s good to have that bit of experience, but we’ve just got to look after ourselves. We keep saying it to the boys - doing what we want to do to the best of our ability and having a bit of pride in the jersey. We saw that today. I’m so proud of those lads. They dug it out.”
Obviously the defeat suffered at the hands of Clonoulty-Rossmore in last year’s semi-final nourished Thurles’ campaign this time round.
“It isn’t a cliché - after last year we bought into the publicity a small bit. People were saying we could win Munster and maybe we did take our eye off the ball,” Séamus Quinn added.
“I hold my hand up on that, but this year it was one game at a time. We said it the first night we sat down - first game, county league or whatever it was. I’m going to be honest - this week was the first time we talked about the county final when we got over the semi-final. That does focus the mind. I’m learning as well as the rest of the boys there with me in the backroom staff. That’s the county final done and dusted, but yeah, of course, you would be hungry for success at this stage. The next match is against Kilmallock in two weeks’ time and we’re going to give this one hell of a rattle now. We have a bit of experience from the last few years. If we’re good enough we’re good enough. If we’re not we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. We’re looking forward to it.”