“I was never under any illusion that Limerick wouldn’t bring 100%” | Tom Condon on his confidence in former teammates and dealing with scrutiny

The Knockaderry man represented Limerick for twelve years, playing alongside a number of the team that defeated Cork on Sunday.

Limerick went into their clash with Cork last Sunday knowing that anything but a victory would see them eliminated from the championship. There had been a lot of noise on social media following the side’s temporary slump, and this is something that added even more pressure to the game for the players.

Speaking to at the launch of the Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final, former Limerick Minor Tom Condon revealed he was never in doubt that John Kiely’s side would get over the line against the Rebels. The Knockaderry man represented Limerick for twelve years, playing alongside the majority of the team that defeated Cork on Sunday.

Something John Kiely has mentioned after each game this year has been “incremental improvements,” and Condon echoed his words, saying the team have been “getting better game by game.”

“I have the bonus of playing with these lads and training with them, I was never under any illusion that Limerick wouldn’t bring 100% to the table, I wasn’t panicking, I knew that the lads would deliver a performance and the result would take care of itself. They performed for nearly three quarters of the game, it was back to the old Limerick.”

19 August 2018; Tom Condon of Limerick celebrates at the final whistle of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Limerick went in to the day expecting to finish third at best, but following a rather surprising result in Thurles, they ended up qualifying for a fifth successive Munster final. It is testament to the hard work and dedication that this side puts in.

Many were of the belief that Kiely’s men have been unlucky this year, that results were not at all reflective of the performances that were going in. And Condon referenced this point, stating that the players just needed to trust in themselves, with the hard work already done.

“You just have to go hell for leather, trust in yourself and what you’ve done in training, you have the work done, it’s just to go out there and throw off the shackles and let it all out. Gearoid Hegarty stuck at it, kept working and working, toward the end of the game he was back to the old Gearoid that we know. It just shows that hard work and resilience will eventually pay off.”

REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY Electric Ireland GAA All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final Media Event 31/5/2022 Pictured is former Limerick Minor hurler, Tom Condon, as he looks ahead to this Sunday’s Electric Ireland GAA All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final between Galway and Clare, kicking off at 2pm in FBD Semple Stadium. In recognition of the major impact of playing Minor, this summer Electric Ireland is using their social channels to spotlight a player each week partaking in the Football, Hurling and Camogie Minor Championships. A Player of the Week is revealed weekly on Electric Ireland’s Twitter page (@electricireland). Later this year, Electric Ireland will celebrate the achievements of players from the Minor Championships through the Electric Ireland GAA and Camogie Minor Star Awards. You can follow the campaign on social media @ElectricIreland and via the hashtag #ThisIsMajor. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Hegarty was just one of a number of Limerick players who have had to had to deal with online scrutiny following their slow start to the campaign. After the thriller in the TUS Gaelic Grounds last weekend, Tom Morrissey and Diarmaid Byrnes spoke on how the camp don’t let “outside noise” into their bubble.

“We are far too experienced for that as a group, we dont let any of that into our circle. The pundits have to come up with something to write about, unfortunately its us.”

diarmaid byrnes

Condon spoke his experience, coming onto the scene at minor level, making his senior debut in 2009, and the irrelevance of social media at that stage.

It is a rather new occurrence in recent years, players having to deal with negativity online, but by working with psychologists and trusting in their ability, Kiely’s side have managed to overcome the doubters.

Morrissey mentioned at the weekend that he has a number of words blocked on Twitter, so as to avoid even seeing any negative content while Byrnes simply said that the side are “too experienced” to be affected by such remarks.

However, Condon admits that players are “only human,” and are likely to go online and view negative content with the Limerick stars showing exactly how to deal with that on the field.

“At the end of the day we’re all human, we are going to see stuff. It’s about having the know-how and sense to ignore it and not engage with it, not to take it personally. From when I first came on the scene things have changed a lot!”

The Limerick side were defiant to overcame the doubters when knocking Cork out of the championship, and coming into a repeat Munster final against a now fanceid Banner outfit, those doubters may just spur them on once more.

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