"It’s rare enough for a Limerick lad to be up there but I’m enjoying it" - Seamus Flanagan on college in UCD
Seamus Flanagan doesn't know too many others from Limerick up in UCD.
But that doesn't bother him in the slightest.
He had his mind-set on Radiography and with the south Dublin college the only university in the country that had the course on offer, he was heading up to the capital city and that was that.
It can't have been an easy decision to leave Limerick behind, with UL, LIT and Mary I on his doorstep and with most of his friends staying put, but talking to him at the launch of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup on Wednesday, it's clear that he's not the type of lad that needs his hand held.
So up he went to Belfield and it's fair to say it didn't take him long to settle in to the big smoke. The studies are going well, the hurling even better.
“When are you ever going to get the chance to play with lads like Tadhg De Búrca, Rob Lennon, DJ Foran and Brian Hogan. I’m never going to get to play with those guys, you’re always playing against them and it’s good to get one over on them with the county but to get to play with him...class," he says.
It's almost that time of the year again and Flanagan is absolutely rearing for another year of Fitzgibbon hurling. The team-spirit, the craic with boys that you'd usually be taking lumps out of and the hurling.
Like to get DJ Foran delivering ball into your corner...then they take the ball off you with the county...they bring out the best attributes in you and you take stuff from them as well. It’s great fun as well, it’s laid back, 15 lads going out hurling, I really enjoyed it last year and am looking forward to it this year."
“I’m the only Limerick lad. I’d say the closest I have is Brian (Hogan) from Tipp, it’s rare enough for a Limerick lad to be up there but I’m enjoying it up there, enjoying my studies, we get well looked after up there and there’s a good management team in again this year."
2018 was Flanagan's year. An unknown quantity this time last year, some big scalps and big performances with UCD set him up for a massive year with Limerick.
A huge part in linking the two was Limerick manager John Kiely's interest in the Fitzgibbon. He'd keep an eye on all the games and while Flanagan was still involved with UCD, his manager didn't have him trekking down to Limerick midweek for training sessions.
Things like that made a big difference.
"It was the Fitz that kicked that off and John Kiely always goes to those games you know? He was down at that game down in Cork and he came up to me congratulating me on the win. It was the Fitz that kicked if off and got it rolling for me then."
"John [Kiely] had a big impact on it last year. I didn't have to come down midweek for training so I was training twice a week with DCU on Tuesdays and Thursdays and John said he wouldn't expect me down midweek. I came down at the weekends and did my gym [work] up in Dublin and was hurling with Limerick on Fridays and Sundays.
"It was massive for us and for me (Fitzgibbon) and I took that into the League then with me and that was where I sort of nailed my position down for the year and then kept it on for the championship.
And the rest is history.
"Once we got knocked out of Fitzgibbon, I had to commute up and down which was tough and you get kind of sick of that. I said before that it would 10 times worse if Limerick weren't winning and I wasn't getting my starting place. It's very hard to commit that way whereas when Limerick are winning and you're getting your starting place, it's very easy to get up and down."
His eyes are set on a big 2019 now.
Seamus Flanagan at the launch of Electric Ireland's Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championships announcement at Clanna Gael GAA Club in Dublin. Electric Ireland will live stream a selection of Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup games, bringing fans closer to the action than ever before. As part of the First Class Rivals campaign, rival county footballers but now college teammates, Sean OShea (Kerry and UCC) and Cian Kiely (Cork and UCC), Michael McKernan (Tyrone and UU) and Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Donegal and UU) and hurlers, Brian Hogan (Tipperary and UCD) and Seamus Flanagan (Limerick and UCD) will each will put aside their traditional county rivalries, pulling on matching college jerseys to compete as teammates for glory in the Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup.