Pupils at St. Mary’s national school in Clonmel were so upset at Lar Corbett’s withdrawal from the Tipperary hurling panel that they wrote letters to the Thurles Sarsfields player.
And Lar was moved by the gesture, according to Tipp captain Paul Curran, who’s a teacher at the school.
“They were mad to write a letter to him and we gave that to Larry. There must have been 20 letters and it did touch him, he said it was wonderful to see. They were all delighted when they heard he was back and wanted to write another letter!”, said Paul.
The Mullinahone player, who has taken over the captaincy of the team from his clubmate Eoin Kelly, admitted that he didn’t think the 2010 Hurler of the Year would return.
“I didn’t see it coming and that Sunday someone had asked me if he was coming back and I said not a hope, it’s too late now. But that evening I heard he was coming back and when I meet that man again he’ll be saying I was the greatest liar ever!”
Curran describes Corbett’s return as great news. ”Larry knows he’s well away from being up to the championship pace. Even though it’s an amateur sport we train to a semi-professional level and he has done very little training with his club. He looked trim enough the other night in training but he’s well behind in terms of fitness, gym work and hurling”.
Tipp are about to embark on another championship campaign, with some predicting that they and Kilkenny will meet again in the All-Ireland Final for what would be the fourth year in-a-row but Curran isn’t so sure of that, and believes that the championship will throw up a few surprises.
Limerick will be hoping to cause one of those upsets in Sunday’s Munster quarter-final and according to Paul they won’t fear Tipp, especially after the League Semi-Final.
“Their forwards are very physical, they’re a big team and they’re able to hurl. They’re all big men and we definitely know it’s going to be a physical challenge,”, he says, adding that he respects Limerick because they always give 100%.
The League semi-final defeat to Cork was “a bad performance, just one of those days. The lads were up for it and we wanted to get into the league final. You could go on and on trying to figure out what happened but you had to move on, you say that’s the league done and dusted and you get ready for the championship”.
Curran missed the Cork defeat through injury but his knee has since healed. “I injured the cartilage and fractured the bone but it’s okay now, touch wood. It was in a club game with 10 minutes to go and I played on, I probably shouldn’t have. That night it started to swell and I started to panic. You’re always thinking the worst but I didn’t need an operation and it was fine”.
As he prepares to lead the team for the first time in the championship, he says he has had to adjust his approach as captain.
“It took me a while to get into the role. There’s a little bit more responsibility because you have to liaise with the management and players but coming up to the match you have to focus on your own game, it’s you versus the Limerick forwards. Coming up to the game I will go around and chat to the other players, try and help out the younger guys”.
However he’ll be sticking to his immediate pre-match routine, where he likes to “relax, chill and look at the programme”.