"It's great to get a good run of it"- La Touche Cosgrave back on song after injury struggles
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave finds it hard to pinpoint what exactly it is that has inspired the Monaleen hurlers this year.
All he knows is that they are inspired.
Things were looking bleak for the city club when they were relegated from the Limerick senior hurling championship last October, but crucially, they didn't spend long shaking their heads.
Instead, as La Touche Cosgrave tells us, they were back in the gym by the following month with the aim of setting things right. A year on and with an All-Ireland intermediate final on the horizon this Saturday, you could only say that they have.
But let's go back to last winter for a second.
Because, all things considered, there's something very admirable about those early-season-efforts. First of all, for a team that has an average age of just 21, they showed a lot of maturity to get straight back at it but secondly, what's even more admirable is the fact that, when they were doing those early sessions, they didn't even have a management team in place.
It was all off their own backs.
"After we were relegated, we got back into the gym around November.
"That showed where our heads were at," says La Touche, who scored 1-1 in their All-Ireland semi-final win over Bray Emmetts.
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave with @monaleengaa's first goal against @BrayEmmets today.@MunsterGAA | @gaaleinster | @AIB_GAA pic.twitter.com/tciadBCM6f
— StreamSport.ie (@StreamsportI) December 18, 2022
"That has to come from you and it did come from us. Some lads mightn't have come back straight away, but they saw there was a bond being built, and craic being had. And it just took off then, because from those sessions, you're like 'right, there's something going on here.'"
Cosgrave praises his clubs' 'staunch' Monaleen committee, a committee who put a lot of work into ensure they got the right management team in place. Led by Tipperary's Eoin Brislane, it is almost an entirely 'outside' management team but La Touche Cosgrave they have shown a grá for the club.
"When they came in, yes they were outsiders, but it's almost as if they're part of us now.
"They always will be, we have that bond now, a bond that will never be broken. Your natural instinct might go towards a club-man but if you can get outside help, with good experience and so on, you'd be a fool not to take it.
"The committee has done huge work for us. They chatted to us all at the start of the year to talk about our aspirations.
"They got this going by getting the management team in place. They're staunch Monaleen people and they just want the best for us and for the club. Thankfully, it has paid off massively."
La Touche Cosgrave has had a tough run of it with injuries in recent years, culminating in an achilles operation last year, but as he's shown in their last few games, he's coming back to his best now,
"It's great to get a good run of it. To be honest, when I was looking on, with this injury,
"I was like 'there's no way I'm going to get in here, the boys are playing so well. So whenever you're training, you're thinking 'Jesus, I need to pull up my socks.'
"I've always had niggly injuries. The lads would slag me saying I'm injury prone. It was very frustrating look, but the management and the club were very good to me."
He was once one of the brightest young talents in Limerick hurling, playing in two All-Ireland minor finals in a row in '13 and '14, the second as centre back.
As part of Limerick's 'golden generation' he went onto win an All-Ireland under-21 in 2017, and a senior medal in 2018.
The aforementioned injury struggles have since halted his momentum and though his recent form may earn him another call-up, he's not thinking past Tooreen on Saturday.
"I haven't a clue to be honest with you. I haven't looked that far ahead yet really. I'm just looking forward to Saturday. And please God we get the result and after that, just a break and re-assess what's going on, whether it's pre-season with Monaleen or whatever it is. Just a break for a couple of weeks after would be great."