Aaron Gillane was back in the thick of the action last Sunday as he helped his Patrickswell side open up their 2019 Limerick SHC campaign with a win over Doon, who had defeated them a couple of months previously in the county semi-final.
Gillane says the Doon win was
especially important given how they suffered at their hands last summer. Now
under the management of Limerick legend, Gillane outlined the type of manager
he is and alluded to the similarities between he and his nephew, current Hurler
of the Year, Cian Lynch.
“They (Doon) beat us in the opening round last year too and especially those conditions kind of suit Doon, kind of make the match a dogfight but no look I think we were lucky. We felt that if we worked harder than them that our hurling would come out on top and just delighted we did get off to a good start.”
“Ah sure the two boys (Ciaran Carey and Gary Kirby) are two legends of the game so it has been a fairly smooth transition now. To be fair to Gary, he was the first fella to bring the county championship back to Patrickswell in the last 13 years, since 2003 I think. That was a big thing for us so hopefully Ciaran will try to emulate that again now this year.”
“Ah yeah I’d say I wasn’t the only one. I’d say he’s (Carey) adored all over Ireland. He was just a pure warrior and pure leader for Limerick. I don’t think he ever failed to impress whenever he played a match. I can see a very similar resemblance with his nephew Cian. I’m playing with him the whole way up and I don’t think he’s ever played a bad game.
“Yeah, he’s a very good man manager to be fair to him. He doesn’t make a big huff or puff about things, he’s good now to pull people to the side like. An example of that is our full forward this year Paul O’Brien has been playing, he’s 24 I’d say, he’s playing junior since he was 16, never thought he was good enough to play senior but Ciaran obviously saw something in the start of this year and he’s been scoring at least a goal or two every match so far this year. Just bringing through players like that, you need to find one or two every year and luckily Ciaran has the skill to do that.”
Over the weekend, Paul Browne returned to action with his club side Bruff in the Premier Intermediate chance. A veteran of the Limerick panel, Browne suffered a cruciate ligament tear in Munster last year that ended his championship. Not to one to moan however, the Bruff man continued to head to training to support his teammates, something that was invaluable according to Gillane.
“Yeah it’s great to have Browney back, he’s always around the place as well, he’s just a very good guy. He gets on with everyone. Even last year he got that horrible injury, he could have very easily went away and felt sorry for himself but no he stayed around. He was at every single training just driving fellas on, doing what he could do. He’s around for so long now, he must be there nearly 10 years so even last year was probably my second year on the senior panel so coming into the semi-final and final he was great just to have a chat with, kind of relax you. Can’t talk highly enough of Paul, great to see him back and playing well with Bruff again.”
“Yeah not just Browney, there’s Tom Condon and even though last year he was an impact sub, he was great for motivational talking there before going out on the field so everyone did have their roles to play whether they were playing or not. We kind of all rowed together and luckily that’s why we won the All-Ireland.”
After Limerick’s historic All-Ireland victory in August, the celebrations across the county were unprecedented and rightly so considering the achievement. However, once the dust settled many wondered how the team would cope in the aftermath of the success.
Yet, Gillane and co demonstrated their ability once again during the league, avoiding an All-Ireland hangover, eventually strolling to a first National League title in 22-years.
For Gillane there was never any fear of the team getting ahead of themselves after securing the Liam MacCarthy cup.
“I suppose that’s just testament to the management team that we have, they didn’t leave nothing get to their head. If we went away and thought we were brilliant after winning one All-Ireland, we could be waiting another 45 years to win something again so hopefully that isn’t the case now, we stay grounded and we’re obviously hungry to win more again.”
“No and I think that’s a good sign too. That’s a sign of the character that we have in the team. I don’t see the need for it to change anyone. We’ve been normal up along and I think that’s why we did win it, I don’t see why we’d change what we do because it might result in us not winning it again.”
“There’s always a lot of talk about teams in the past. Coming up to the All-Ireland final and league final, everyone kept saying Limerick hadn’t won an All-Ireland, hadn’t been in a All-Ireland final since 2007, hadn’t won a league in 22 years. I just keep saying, ‘I’ve no interest in Limerick teams that have gone before us’. We’ve our own team and we’re just looking to create our own history.”
During that League final, Gillane scored one of the finest goals ever seen in Croke Park, flicking a rasping drive from Tom Condon past Stephen O’Keefe to notch the games only goal.
Gillane was humble in his assessment of the goal however, saying he didn’t know much about it, with instinct taking over.
“I still don’t know what I was doing to be honest. I barely flicked it, it was just pure luck I’d say. Sure you’re not going to know if you can do these things unless you try it and no better place to try it than in Croke Park.”