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All-Ireland treble on the horizon for Patrick Curran but he'll stay level-headed

The Waterford forward has won All-Ireland medals at minor and U21 level, but a senior title has always been the goal.

Curran has been a valuable asset off the bench for the All-Ireland finalists this year.
Curran has been a valuable asset off the bench for the All-Ireland finalists this year.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PATRICK CURRAN REMEMBERS his county’s last appearance in an All-Ireland senior hurling final as if it was yesterday.

7 September 2008. He was 12 and it was his first time in Croke Park. The top tier of the Cusack Stand was where he sat, surrounded by his family and in awe of his heroes entering battle.

Opposition came in the form of Kilkenny, but that day turned into one that Curran and the entirety of Waterford would much rather forget.

The Déise were absolutely blown away — 3-30 to 1-13.

“It was one that will stay with me, even though it was one that didn’t go my way,” he recalls.

“My own clubmate Jamie Nagle was playing midfield so he was definitely a big influence on my career. The first fella from Dungarvan to play for Waterford. A big day.”

Of course, Curran is gearing up for his own big day this Sunday. Nine years later.

Patrick Curran celebrates scoring a goal Curran lining out in the Dr Harty Cup final for Colaiste Na Deise. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Hurling has always been the heartbeat of the Curran household. His father Pat played for Waterford in the 1980s, he was a forward too. His mother Margaret served her time as the Cavan camogie goalkeeper.

It’s a real tradition, he smiles.

Growing up, the hurley and sliotar were never too far away, and when the opportunity arose to don the white and blue jersey at underage level, he grabbed it with both hands.

The Dungarvan forward — alongside several others on the panel — has won All-Ireland medals at minor and U21 level, so a senior medal on Sunday would make for a coveted treble.

“We’ve had good days at minor and U21. This is really different. Everything that goes with senior hurling is that bit different. I don’t think you can really compare.

Patrick Curran scores Patrick Curran fires home a goal in the 2013 All-Ireland minor hurling final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“They’re memories you’ll never forget, real special. It’s something you dream of all the way up, playing in finals. When you win them it’s really, really good.”

Completing the set is the dream though. And considering Waterford haven’t lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup since 1959, this current crop are extremely lucky to be in this position.

“We’re in a position but we don’t have that medal yet,” he responds.

“Fellas trained all their life to get to All-Ireland finals and haven’t got there. Look, we’re there now. It will mean nothing if we lose. That’s the reality.

“Since you were a kid you always wanted to win a senior All-Ireland. When you have the minor and U21, you’ve people saying ‘Will you push on?’ That’s in the back of our minds. But we take it day by day. it’s always been a goal.”

Curran was a key player on both of those All-Ireland-winning underage teams, scoring 1-7 in the 2013 minor final and 1-9 in last year’s U21 decider, as well as being named Man of the Match in both.

Patrick Curran and Adam Farrell lift the trophy Curran and Adam Farrell lift the cup following last year's All-Ireland U21 final win over Galway. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

He has yet to fully break the senior scene though, and establish himself as a regular first-choice option for Derek McGrath. This summer, he’s come off the bench and made valuable cameos on several occasions.

Being held in reserve would leave many players frustrated. Of course, Curran would much rather be starting, but he’s happy to oblige to what’s best for the team.

“Every player wants to be playing. It’s moved on from individual views. We’re a real collective group. We know that we have to give everything to the cause.

“Whether you’re playing for two minutes or 22 it doesn’t really matter. We’re a real group. You have to be ready when you’re called upon.

“It’s not really frustrating because we know that, behind it all. Maybe other people view it a bit different outside. You have to be strong enough to know that.”

Patrick Curran under pressure Curran in action against Kilkenny in the league this year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Studying Primary Teaching in St Pat’s, DCU, the 21-year-old is enjoying the hype and the build-up to Sunday’s decider, but one thing’s for sure — he won’t get too carried away.

“You can’t go anywhere without talking about the match. It’s not a bad thing. You have to take everything in your stride. You have to be focused. It’s down to the game. Not anything that goes on outside of that.

“We take it day by day. Everyone is talking about the All-Ireland final but in our eyes, it’s tomorrow night’s training is all we’re thinking about. That’s how you get an edge.”


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