"It looks like a hurley, it feels like a hurley and essentially it performs like a hurley" 4 months ago

"It looks like a hurley, it feels like a hurley and essentially it performs like a hurley"

In the remote outskirts of nowhere, Sean Finn opened the mind and the body for another year.

Go to beyond, then back some more and you might just find yourself in Doonbeg, in the west west coast of county Clare. It's so quiet and undisturbed out there that you wouldn't want to be the one who breaks the peace with the sound of hurling.

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Not that Sean Finn ever had any such intention. Having chased the sun for two All-Irelands and three All-Stars since 2017, it was exactly the type of place and exactly the type of lifestyle this corner back had in mind when he first went with the idea of 're-charging the batteries.'

"I spent a bit of time back in Doonbeg," Finn says of his 2021 so far.

"My girlfriend has a house back there. I spent three or four months there, spent a lot of time in the sea swimming. Well away from a hurley and sliotar."

If inter-county hurling is all-consuming commitment then this is come and go as you please, a life that this fella doesn't usually have the time or the appetite for. Having laid himself back in the abyss, the appetite is stronger than ever as a result.

"I did very little exercise. I didn't pick up a hurley for quite a long time, until the beginning of April. I just found a break from exercise and the whole training regime was as beneficial as actually going out training myself.

"That has definitely stood to me over the last couple of weeks when we have turned our attention to going back training. I can feel the freshness now and I’m really looking forward to getting back the games as well."

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Forget about the big whelp of a pre-season in days gone by, the four week run-in suits Finn down to the ground and the Bruff club-man is like a jack-in-the-box at the thoughts of hurling now.

Whether he'll be using Torpey's Bamboo hurley, the innovation he advocated on ear to the ground recently, he's not so sure but one thing he does know is that those sticks are for the future.

"I find it really good. I think there is very little difference between the ash and the bamboo at the moment and I do think it has a place in the GAA in the next couple of years. I know Gearóid Hegarty uses it quite a lot. I’m using the ash at the moment but I could use it (bamboo) over the next couple of weeks as well. I think it’s really good.

1 March 2020; Aonghus Clarke of Westmeath using the bamboo hurl in last year's League.
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"From a player’s perspective, it looks like a hurley, it feels like a hurley and essentially it performs like a hurley as well. So that’s the main thing. Often times, when the CúlTec was there and you saw an inter-county hurler using a plastic hurley you’d be looking at him twice. But considering it looks like a hurley I think that’s a big plus and it performs the same as an ash hurley too."

If this is the lay-off, the valley before the climb, then this man is looking for the top of the mountain again. He knows how difficult it could be to get there.

"If we get our preparation right, don’t get complacent, don’t sit back on our laurels and admire what we done last year, I think we’ll be in a good position. Just a matter of not getting complacent, thinking we’re going better or playing better than we actually are," he said.

"When things are all good and going really well, that’s the important time to keep your eyes sharp. Because you can fall into a trap of thinking things are going really, really well when perhaps they mightn’t be."

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4 May 2021; The long-awaited return of inter-county hurling takes place on May 8th with the commencement of the Allianz Hurling Leagues. Over 70 games will take place across the four divisions in an action packed seven-week festival of hurling. This campaign also marks the 29th year of Allianz’ partnership with the GAA as sponsor of the Allianz Leagues, making it one of the longest-running sponsorships in Irish sport. In attendance at the Allianz Hurling Leagues 2021 launch is Seán Finn of Limerick at Lough Gur. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile