"I've enjoyed every bit of it" - Naas' dual dreamers looking to take one last step 9 months ago

"I've enjoyed every bit of it" - Naas' dual dreamers looking to take one last step

With a season of hurling and football behind him, Brian Byrne says he'd encourage anyone with the opportunity to give the dual dream a go.

Noel and John McGrath have often talked about the freshness a mix of the two can bring and Byrne, along with his Naas dual-playing colleague James Burke, knows exactly what the Loughmore-Castleiney boys mean.

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It took a lot of communication to manage it, with Naas enjoying long and fruitful campaigns in both codes, but never once did Byrne feel compromised. This, after all, has been the best year of his career to date.

It could get even better yet, with Kilmoyley on the horizon in Saturday's All-Ireland intermediate hurling final.

"I've enjoyed every bit of it," Byrne says of his dual commitments

"I'd definitely encourage it. Even for any young kids out there it's really important, I think sport is a huge benefactor to their everyday life. It's brilliant to get involved in as many things as possible if you enjoy it. Enjoyment is the main thing, there's no point in doing it if you don't get enjoyment out of it."

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Naas' pair of dual players Brian Byrne and James Burke.

The Naas boys have certainly enjoyed it this year. Having won their first county senior football title in 31 years before journeying all the way to the Leinster final, it was only after a defeat to Kilmacud Crokes when Byrne and Burke could turn their attention fully to the hurling. In the mean-time, with games every weekend, they'd been beating Kilkenny champs Glenmore and Wexford's Oylegate Glenbrien.

Which brings them right up to this Saturday. All-Ireland final day.

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"Myself and James are the only dual lads this year so it kind of meant that we were playing with one set of players and then moving across to another set of players.

"Moving between the two groups gave us that different conversation, that different buzz. Just different people altogether. I don't mean it was nice to get away from one group of lads, but it was nice just to have a different thought in your head and looking towards a championship match every weekend. 

"When you're younger you dream of these days. For me it was with Kildare, you think it would be brilliant to get to Croke Park with your county team. But to get to Croke Park with your club team and to do it three times this year is pretty special."

These are special times, but a level-headed isn't getting carried away. Not yet anyway.

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"To win an All-Ireland final, it would be fantastic. There’s a lot of lads who have put in hard work at underage level and may not have seen a lot of success but to have a conversation with those guys and to see what this means to them, it’s brilliant. But at the end of the day, It’s probably the same in Kilmoyley, I’m sure an All-Ireland title would go a long way down there too.

"We'll enjoy the occasion, but it's a little bit more difficult for us to enjoy it because we have a job to do on the pitch."

3 February 2022; Hurler Brian Byrne of Naas Hurling Club, Kildare, pictured ahead of one of #TheToughest showdowns of the year, which sees Naas face off against Kilmoyley of Kerry in the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Final this Saturday, February 5th at 5pm.