Masterclass by Seamus Callanan illuminates Croke Park on All-Ireland day

Man of the Match

Masterclass by Seamus Callanan illuminates Croke Park on All-Ireland day

The mastery of Seamus Callanan illuminated the biggest hurling stage of them all on Sunday as he tore Kilkenny to pieces to lead his county to All-Ireland glory.

One of the most gifted hurlers of his generation Callanan hit the heights on Sunday, something that has eluded him in the past when expectations were so high.

It was all part of the ebb and flow of a hurling careerthat players experienced he explained to inquisitors following Tipperary's nine point victory.

". Every player doesn't light it up every year. You have to experience a bit of time on the bench like TJ Reid, Richie Hogan and all these fantastic players, Hurlers of the Year. They have done their time on the bench as well for Kilkenny and have now become the leaders. So everyone goes through that patch.

“I made a nice bit of an impact in 2008 and 2009, my first two years," he said. . "Like I was nominated for an All Star both them years. You know it wasn't just out of the blue that this just happened three years ago. Look you'll have dips in form, you have different management.

"Eamonn O'Shea came in and showed a massive belief in me as a person and as a player and gave me responsibility. I suppose he gave me a licence to be myself on the pitch where maybe I was feeling restrained before.

"Look, it's all about growing and developing, evolving as a player. And you know that happens with years on the panel and experience as well. Look I'm just I suppose in the peak of my career at the moment, like I'm 28 in two weeks time. I'd like to think there's a few good years left in me yet”

Looking back on the years that failed to return a dividend for all of the hard work being put in by Tipperary, Seamus Callanan said nobody in the dressing room gave up.

"Losing is hard to take," "Everyone has their goals and if you don't achieve them, it's very hard to take. But there's never a second that one person inside in that Tipperary dressing-room ever thought 'Time to throw it all away...I don't want to go again!'

"Everyone wanted another chance, redemption, you know to fulfil aspirations that we would have from each other. Like we see the work that goes in every year and, like my God, we're not going to let ourselves down, we're not going to throw it away, we're not going to give up on something that's our dream.

"No way, not for anybody." insisted Callanan who destroyed the defensive cohesion of Brian Cody's team with his fluent movement, exquisite touch and a lethal finishing which saw him score. as Michael Ryan described it, “an outrageous” nine points from play to go with four taken from frees.

One of his nine points summed up his artistry, although he was unlucky not to get a goal out of it, came in the first half.He took one touch to control a delivery out of defence and another to set it up for a shot which went just over the crossbar.

It was a sublime piece of skill that Callanan executes with incredible consistency.

"You have your own goals and aspirations as a player," he said. "There's nobody inside in this panel that has a goal to be a sub for Tipperary. Now, when you get the chance, you want to contribute to that family that is Tipperary.

"But I suppose to be established there on the team is good for myself. I put in an awful lot of hard work outside of the training as well as I'm sure every player does. But this is a special one because I'm part of a panel that's been around for a while that has suffered a lot of defeats to Kilkenny.

"And whereas Mick said you can't carry that as baggage, today was a new day and we didn't carry it as baggage. But at the same time, we've hurt enough. You know it's time for us to start inflicting the hurt on other teams. So, look, today is a very, very special day."

"Mick is obviously a fantastic man as a motivator, setting up his team, giving new lads a chance to go out and express themselves, all of that," said Callanan. "But he will tell you himself, Mick and the management team are facilitators for us. They give us the chance to go out there and hurl.

"They do that very well, but this group of players have experienced enough pain that I'd say it's easy enough talk to us on the training pitch.

"And obviously now you don't want to leave a five or a six-year gap again."

"You know we've suffered enough," said Callanan. "That feeling of hurt ... we didn't want to go through that as a family again.

"We did this for each other"said the Drom n Inch star.