“The mindset has changed completely” | Mike Casey on returning from injury to a different game

Arguably in the form of his career after injury troubles, the 27-year old said he is “cherishing every moment now.”

It’s fair to say that Mike Casey has suffered more than is fair share of injuries over the last few years, that saw him miss two All-Ireland triumphs. Picking up the dreaded cruciate ligament injury in late 2020, the Na Piarsaigh man picked up a number of niggles after that before eventually making his inter county return in 2022.

Arguably in the form of his life after his injury troubles, the 27-year old Limerick defender has said he is “cherishing every moment now,” and that his “mindset has changed completely.”

The Na Piarsaigh man is now a lot more thankful for the chance to go out and play each game he can, and says it’s about enjoying being on the field with his “best friends.”

“The mindset has changed completely, it’s such a privilege to be able to put on the jersey, to play in a place like Croke Park in front of 80k people.

“The mindset has changed completely since 2018, 2019, obviously getting the injuries then, it’s about cherishing every moment now, no one knows when it’s going to be their last time. Its about enjoying my hurling and enjoying being on the field with all our best friends”

18 July 2021; Limerick manager John Kiely celebrates with Mike Casey after the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Tipperary at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Casey’s mindset has definitely evolved, and it has allowed the player to play with a happiness and a freedom that is a joy to watch.

As well as the defender’s outlook, we have witnessed the evolution of hurling as a whole over the last few years. As a game it has become a lot more technical, a lot more shorter passing has come into the sport, and Casey has returned to a different game after his injury.

While the corner-back, recently named in the GAA.ie Team of the Week following his impressive display in the win over Galway, has admitted it was hard to adjust upon his return, he said that’s the nature of high level sport and players have to adjust, or they will be left behind.

Having returned to the team in his natural full back role last year, Casey was shifted to the corner early on this year as Sean Finn picked up a cruciate injury. In the opposite corner is Barry Nash who would have played underage with Casey in the forwards as the Na Piarsaigh man spoke of the ever evolving game.

“(It’s been hard to adjust) Especially coming into such a set up, and the players that are here and how well everyone keeps themselves, but that’s high level sport, you have to adjust or there’s going to be no time for you.

“Even the roles in the full backline have changed since, small bit of adjusting but hopefully I’ve done an alright job.”

With the Shannonsiders in yet another All-Ireland final, Casey will hope to help his side over the line onfield in Croke Park, as he did in 2018 and 2022.

It has been a difficult time with injuries for Casey, but the 27-year-old is through it now, and is looking like he is back to his very best.

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