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From Christy Ring Cup hurling for Kildare to an All-Ireland final with Limerick

It’s been a big change in 12 months in the hurling life of David Reidy.

A CONTRAST IN hurling seasons.

David Reidy has spent 2017 and 2018 working under two Limerick figures that battled as players in the 90s to end the county’s Liam MacCarthy Cup barren spell.

David Reidy David Reidy is back in the Limerick hurling ranks. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

This year it has been with John Kiely in Limerick, the twist lies in that last year it was with Joe Quaid in Kildare.

Having operated on the fringes of the Limerick team for a couple of seasons, the plug was pulled at the start of the 2017 campaign.

“John rang me and said I wasn’t in the plans for 2017 and Joe Quaid is a Limerick man managing Kildare. I’m living and working in Kildare so he rang me to see would I come in for a trial or whatever.

“So I spent a couple of weeks in there, I was thoroughly enjoying it, so I kept going.”

He teaches in Rathcoffey in north Kildare and immersed himself in their county scene when the chance arose.

“I didn’t have any knowledge of Kildare hurling really, but there was a good few Limerick lads in there. Adrian O’Sullivan was the strength and conditioning coach and trainer inside there from Ahane as well.

“There was a good Limerick influence. It was a thoroughly enjoyable year and I have nothing, but good things to say about Kildare people in Kildare hurling.

“The effort is brilliant, no more so than it is down here. Maybe they don’t get the recognition they deserve. Kildare won the Christy Ring this year so hopefully they will be promoted. I was delighted for them, they put in a lot of effort, they got a good few lads back this year so that was excellent to see.”

Kildare players run onto the pitch at the final whistle Kildare players celebrate their Christy Ring Cup final victory this year. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

His form prompted a recall. When Kiely was assembling his squad for the 2018 season, Reidy, a 2016 Fitzgibbon Cup winner with Mary Immaculate College, was recruited.

“I can remember exactly where I was (when he rang), I can’t remember the date, (it was) in October sometime. He just wanted me to come back in for a trial.

“There was a panel of about 40 there and I didn’t hesitate to say yes, it was exactly what I wanted. Thankfully it worked out and it has been a very enjoyable year so far.

“I came into it surprised, but maybe it was the kick I kind of needed to get myself back into where I should be and to work on things I needed to work on, be it hurling wise or maybe mentality wise as well.

“So getting back in with Limerick was always the plan, thankfully it worked out.”

It’s five years since Reidy was first ushered into a Limerick senior squad. His maiden summer opened like a dream as he was present when the county delivered Munster hurling glory for the first time in 17 years.

“My first year was 2013, the year we won the Munster. I was only a garsún. That was a great experience. A couple of lads brought me along the way, Gavin O’Mahony and Paudie O’Brien from Kilmallock were brilliant to me.

“I was only a young fella, I thought there would be more days like this when we won the Munster in 2013. I thought it was all glory days.”

He’s seen the flipside of hurling since then.

David Reidy and Aidan Harte David Reidy in action for Limerick against Galway in 2014. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“The following years were tough, but I always knew there was a good bunch of hurlers there. Maybe things, I just can’t put my finger on it, but the influence of the young fellas has brought a carefree attitude.

“Their togetherness and unity, and the skill level and obviously the confidence that comes from winning U21s is maybe the influence we needed in the senior ranks.

“Difficult days, yeah. It has been a long road to get here, especially this year commuting and travelling up and down from Kildare to training was tough.

“When you are in an All-Ireland final them days seem like a long time ago and you are happy to be there.”

The Limerick squad is ferociously competitive, chances of game time must be seized when they arise. Reidy came on in that semi-final epic against Cork and did his bit, chipping in with an extra-time point.

For a player hailing from Dromin-Athlacca, a club in south Limerick hard against the Cork border, it was a sweet success.

David Reidy and Tom Condon celebrate at the final whistle David Reidy celebrates Limerick's All-Ireland semi-final victory with Tom Condon.

“I tried to keep away from it as much as possible, there was a good build up at home before. I tried to keep the head down, to stay away from it as much as I could.

“Nickie (Quaid) went to school in Charleville as well, I went to the CBS. A good lot of my friends would be from the north Cork area – Ballyhea, Newtown, and Charleville so there was a good buzz.”

- Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Ballyea as being part of the North Cork area, that should be Ballyhea.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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