Borris-Ileigh defender Paddy Stapleton is sick of listening to stories about 2010 and says he can hardly remember anything from the final clash with Kilkenny at this stage.
As, the PE teacher working in Colaiste Mhuire in Thurles says, 2010 is a’a lfetime away now’ but he is setting his sights on the 2014 season with a renewed enthusiasm having gotten over the pain of the season just passed.
He will hardly make the bench for Saturday’s Allianz National HUrling League opener with Waterford as a hamstring injury has curtailed his preparations, but he looking at the bigger picture and hopes to play his part in Tipp’s campaign very soon.
“Waterford is maybe a little unrealistic but it often seems that when you have a date in mind the healing gets a little quicker so I would be hoping to be training fully this week and if I am training fully, maybe make the bench.
“We have had a very good start to the year with a lot of new blood in there which is refreshing. I would have known a few new lads coming in from different college teams and would have seen a lot of them underage and I would have great time for them. It brings that little spark to training that you are going out with ten different players at training and you don’t know exactly what they are going to do whereas if you have the same panel over and over again you know eachothers play.
“We have done an awful lot of preparation in pre-season and now it’s nice to be getting into matches. We have a lot of the hard slog done already but there is a nice bit of it in front of us yet because we know the really important games aren’t coming up for a little while,” he told The Tipperary Star this week.
Paddy is an extremely honest and forthright individual who teels it as he sees it. And, he has no hesitation is saying that the Tipp dressingroom after the Kilkenny defeat in Nowlan Park last year was the worst he witnesses. That memory is driving him on and ensured that he was full of enthusiasm for hurling afterwards.
“I was absolutely mad to get back but I was lucky that the club (Borris-Ileigh) didn’t go out of the championship for a long time. That was a new exciting thing for myself, it gave me a new enthusiasm for it.
“I am out of college now, into the real world and it’s not like a winter of looking forward to going out during the week, you’d still be training but you would go out socialising, so you are trying to get a job under your belt and trying to start a new life for myself. I was looking forward to it, I couldn’t wait to get back and that’s the feeling in the dressing room.
“Last year in the dressing room (in Nowlan Park) was very tough. It was one of the worst ever, because of the rivalry, but more so I have never experienced going out of the championship that early. To think that for the next three months you are going to be looking at it on television was very hard to look at like it would be for any county that would be knocked out early having been used to playing in it a little longer.
“It was really difficult and we would look around at some of the older guys and be hoping you’d see the same faces the year after but as Paudie (Maher) said, you don’t ever know, and I would have suffered from a bad enough injury a few years ago and I would have had that feeling as well, how long more would you be able.Maybe the hurt has given us that renewed enthusiasm,” he said.
Tipp will have a few hot dates in the league - great preparation for the championship, but as Paddy says there is no safety net when it comes to the summer.
“League is league but the championship is where you judge yourself. In the league you have a safety net so a lot people can perform in the league . We learned a lot from last year in that it won’t just clcik into place, things have to be done and have to be earned. It wasn’t that we weren’t training hard but we saw the level we had to get up to and Paudie, Mick and Eamon saw what they had and what they need and they have learned from that as well. That is something that has re-energised us as well that there is a big challenge in front of us. We have no obstacles, we are being facilitated as good as any team is facilitated, it is up to us to bring it onto the next level,” he says.
He adds, “ People are still talking about 2010 but for me I am more angry about what has happened since then, nothing, we have fallen into the trap again. That has to be gotten away from with fresh new blood and that is all part of it as well. You have a long career but to live off one game and one season, I don’t think that is a career. If you look at a team that hasn’t won an All Ireland the motivation is massive. You can’t tell someone the next year on in subsequent years to be motivated. You have to have that feeling inside you and I’m not going to say who has or hasn’t it but at times you could say some people wouldn’t be.
“Last year I think we were at that stage and we let it slip. The All Ireland in 2010 is well gone, I can’t remember most of it or even that season. You have a career and an ambition of where you want to go and it isn’t just one match in one season.