"We definitely went for a few pints because to enjoy it is why you do it." - No drinking bans in Loughmore-Castleiney 5 months ago

"We definitely went for a few pints because to enjoy it is why you do it." - No drinking bans in Loughmore-Castleiney

He had the breakfast eaten and the dancing shoes on as, a day after winning the double with Loughmore-Castleiney, Noel McGrath was on his way to the pub.

It's a big weekend next weekend but that's then and this is now. Wednesday will be time enough to pick up the footballs again and it'll be time enough to start thinking about Ennis then because now, a day after winning the Tipperary senior hurling championship, these boys have lots to sit around and talk about.


"We're all fresh and happy this morning," the team's captain picks up the phone to Colm Parkinson.

They're 17 weeks on the go at this stage and while sport science might advise them to rest up and go to bed early, the Loughmore-Castleiney boys know that sport science doesn't win championships. It takes guts, unity, heart and a whole load of other innate qualities that, through years of playing together, winning together, losing together and celebrating together, these boys have in spades.

"The reason we do it is to enjoy it like so after the football we had a few pints back out in Loughmore," Noel says.

"I seen your clip and a few lads were kind of laughing and saying kind of 'if they only knew like,' but we definitely went for a few pints because to enjoy it is why you do it. I think if you went home after a match like that, you wouldn't sleep at all anyway so I don't think a couple of pints or a bit craic was going to do much harm at that stage.


"If we were bet yesterday now people might be saying what were we doing but when we won, it worked. They're small things, people make a big deal about them at times but I think if you win a county final at any level, it's well earned so you need to celebrate and enjoy it. We'll celebrate and enjoy this one too."

Whatever they do, they do it together and as they've proved this year, that makes for a powerful team.


"We've just learnt and we have the experience to know that we have it in the body to stay going for 60/70 minutes. We've all played together for so long. It's a small enough place, everybody knows everybody, we all enjoy each other's company."

"There are plenty of rows and arguments and that's all part of it, but at the end of the day we're all friends and we all get on with it. When we win, we enjoy it. When we don't, we back each other and we get on with it."

Last year's pair of county final defeats hit them 'like a bereavement,' as a past Loughmore-Castleiney player said yesterday but the pain of those narrow losses only inspired them.

"Thankfully we were on the right side of it this year because last year was heart-breaking. And when it happened like it did, you think you might never get back there again. We all remember the heartbreak we had last year, so to have the opposite feeling this year was special.


"Some of our supporters would be giving out to us telling us they're going to have a heart-attack one of these days the way it's going," he added.

As for the dual dream, McGrath makes it all sound very simple.

"We train for whatever code we're playing at the weekend weekend. If we had a game of a Saturday, we'll train the following Tuesday and if it was a game Sunday, we'll train on the Wednesday. We mightn't even train at all on Friday if the next game is on Saturday. It's managed well by our management, who have kept us fresh. People think it's a negative changing from the hurling to the football but it keeps us fresh for both codes. When we go back to playing the hurling after a football game, we could be eight or nine days without it and lads would be mad for hurling then.


"Everyone trains for both like. Nobody does just one or the other, the whole panel is in there because everyone wants to play whatever part they can. Since we were eight or nine, that's been the way our club works and if you even see our juvenile club at the moment, they train for hurling and football on the same day often. We're just used to that. That's just the way it is.

"For us, over the last ten years we've had the same manager for hurling and football which I think is the biggest thing you need to do. That means you've no conflict of interest because that manager is able to manage the games he's able to manage the training and you've no arguing between one manager and another."

"We got all the claps on the back last year even though we'd won nothing. This year, we said we didn't want to be getting claps on the backs for being great lads and just being close again."

No fear of that. This team are never bet.