‘The one thing that kept me going over the lockdown was, ‘Imagine winning an All-Ireland at Christmas time”

Updated Dec 13th 2020, 7:25 PM

LIMERICK STAR GEARÓID Hegarty has spoken about the significance of winning the 2020 All-Ireland senior hurling title after being named man-of-the-match in this afternoon’s showpiece.

John Kiely’s Treaty were 11-point winners over Waterford at Croke Park, completing their hurling treble in style and adding to their league and Munster titles — and of course, their unforgettable 2018 Liam McCarthy lift.

Hegarty finished a simply stunning individual display with 0-7 from play, while his fellow wing forward Tom Morrissey was also hugely influential.

Morrissey and Kyle Hayes got mentions from Henry Shefflin, but it was Hegarty he announced as the winner live on The Sunday Game. “He started the year like that, he finished the year like that,” the Kilkenny legend noted, before Hegarty himself gave a brilliant interview to RTÉ’s Evanne Ní Chuilinn.

“It’s incredible that we’ve won an All-Ireland in December,” the St Patrick’s man said.

“It’s a bit bittersweet that we have no fans here with us. Limerick fans have waited a long time to see the Limerick team win an All-Ireland, thankfully we did that in 2018 but they want more and we wanted them to see another one. Unfortunately, they’re not here with us today.

“But the most important thing is when you go inside that white line there, nothing changes, it’s still the exact same as it would have been before. That’s where the battle was won, thankfully we did our job today and we got it done.”

Looking at the strange year that 2020 has been in general and the different way they’ll have to celebrate over the coming weeks, Hegarty remarked: “It will be a great Christmas! We’ll find a way [to celebrate].

“I suppose I found it incredibly hard over the lockdown to keep the training going. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for a long time, we didn’t know whether championship was going ahead or not, there was ifs and buts, will it, won’t it?

The one thing that kept me going over the lockdown was imagine winning an All-Ireland at Christmas time, how good Christmas would be. I’m going to look forward to the next few weeks.

The 26-year-old also touched on questions from outsiders about whether we needed to see another gear from Limerick this year, agreeing that we certainly saw that today.

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“There were people saying that we were disappointed with our performances so far. You don’t get to an All-Ireland final easy. We had to fight and battle for every single ball, every single game so far this year.

Limerick’s Darragh O’Donovan and Hegarty celebrate.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“We judge ourselves internally in terms of our own performances and we were happy enough getting to the All-Ireland final today. But we knew we were on an upward curve and we knew we were going to save our best ’til last. Thankfully we did perform to the best of our ability today.”

And on his admirable link-up play with Morrissey, who finished with 0-5, and the team’s togetherness in general he noted:

“The majority of us came into the set-up in 2016 after the U21 All-Ireland win in 2015. We know each other inside out at this stage, we’re training with each other five nights a week for nine months of the year. It’s obvious that we get to know each other pretty well.

“I hurled with Tom in school, I grew up with Tom. Look, it just came off today. We enjoyed ourselves out there today, it was unreal, it’s fabulous and I can’t wait to get over and celebrate with the boys in a few minutes.”

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