Anthony Daly on Limerick dressing room gesture that sets this side apart
"That's the fantastic thing."
"For every sports team," said Dónal Óg Cusack, "the dressing room is the epicentre. It's like a sanctuary." Standing beside the former Cork goalkeeper, Anthony Daly and Liam Sheedy nodded in agreement.
Just hours out from the 2023 All-Ireland Hurling Final, John Kiely and the Limerick management had allowed the RTÉ cameras, and pundits, into their dressing room to set the tone and tee up the action.
"It's where the people at the tip of the spear live," said Cusack, as he waxed lyrical, "and it's really where you want to be."
The dressing rooms have changed, and been expanded in size, since Anthony Daly was a player, with Clare, but he had been in there before, as a coach and manager. "It's really ON when you get in here," he said. "All the outside noise is blocked off... you're in with your brothers and all the fellas you want around ya."
Daly colourfully recalled who he liked to get into the dressing room, at first, and allow himself to get 'a bit emotional' before hitting the nearest table a slap and getting his game-face on.
Anthony Daly pays credit to Limerick
Following the final, as Limerick celebrated a fourth successive All-Ireland triumph, Anthony Daly reflected on some lesser lights stepping up, when needed, and on those pre-match moments in the dressing room.
"You have brilliant players there, you know, and no egos in the team," he said. "We would have been saying, going into today, that Aaron Gillane and Tom Morrissey were the two really in-form forwards. Didn't really click, but that didn't really bother them.
"That's the fantastic thing. What team, what set-up, would allow us into the dressing room, like earlier today?
"Most counties going for four in a row would have been like, 'Oh genie, no. Don't jinx anything'. It was just the confidence about them, winning another final - a game in front of you, go and win it."
It was certainly worth paying Limerick credit for allowing an insight into their inner sanctum before such a big game.
Not long after, just outside that Limerick dressing room, Damian Lawlor had his fill of interviewees as John Kiely's troops filed out to share their thoughts.
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"To see some of the scores Peter Casey threw over, Diarmaid Byrne's one from play, the quality of the striking," Anthony Daly marvelled.
"Cathal O'Neill when he came on, sure he'll be coming on next year. Cathal will be demanding his place shortly, I think."
Watch our All-Ireland hurling final review show with Davy Fitzgerald right here
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