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'It was hard but worth it' - skipping Liam MacCarthy celebrations to prepare for All-Ireland U20 tilt

Tipperary star Jake Morris featured in two All-Ireland deciders over two consecutive weekends this year.

TIPPERARY STAR JAKE Morris says he skipped some of the celebrations following his county’s Liam MacCarthy Cup success earlier this year, to conserve his energy for an All-Ireland U20 final the following week.

jake-morris-and-ger-browne-celebrate Jake Morris celebrates after Tipperary's win in the All-Ireland SHC final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Morris posted one point from play after making a substitute appearance in that 14-point victory over Kilkenny in the senior decider. That was followed by a six-day turnaround before the All-Ireland U20 final, where Morris helped himself to 0-8 in Tipp’s comprehensive win against Cork.

That victory capped off an incredible few days for the talented forward, but he had some difficult decisions to make at the outset of the week in relation to the Liam MacCarthy festivities.

Tipp U20 boss Liam Cahill, who has since stepped down from the role, showed great empathy to Morris’ situation and didn’t try to influence his decision either way.

“I remember we were let off the Sunday night and we enjoyed ourselves,” Morris recalls.

“Liam Cahill was very approachable about the whole situation and he said if we wanted to go enjoy the celebrations Monday [to] go do that too and go to training on Tuesday.

“But I think me, Paddy [Cadell] and Jerome [Cahill] came together and a few of the senior lads had a word with us and said it’d be worth it on Saturday [to stay away from celebrations] so we kind of minded ourselves. I think we were all home early enough Monday evening from the Ragg.

I suppose it was hard because I was at home all week and my own family and girlfriend were out celebrating all week. I was like, ‘Jesus, I was the one playing’ and I was at home sitting down with my feet up.”

Elaborating on his remarks about the input of some of the Tipperary senior players, Morris says that Pádraic Maher and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher advised the youngsters that opting out of the celebrations would be worthwhile in the end.

They had some relevant experience to offer them as well, having lived through a similar dilemma in 2010 when they won senior and U21 All-Ireland titles with Tipp.

“It wasn’t really a meeting, we were kind of chatting and it was just a casual chat,” says Morris.

“I think I remember chatting to Paudie Maher and Bonner Maher throughout the celebrations and they were saying ‘finish it off now on Saturday.’

Because they had experienced that in 2010 and Bonner’s words were, ‘It’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do in your life if you win on Saturday.’

upmc-gaagpa-launch Morris says he's always focused on trying to get into the starting 15 with Tipperary. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

“I suppose the three of us together would know our own limits and we didn’t want to be flat on Saturday.

“We didn’t want to let our team down. We were the older guys on the U20 team with experience and we just came together and said we’d buy our time and have a right crack off it on Saturday.

“You couldn’t go out on Saturday being flat after enjoying yourself. It was hard to refocus but it wasn’t really because you’re playing an All-Ireland final on the Saturday.”

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Having made his Tipperary senior debut in 2018, Morris is surely closing in on a regular starting berth on Liam Sheedy’s team.

The Nenagh Éire Óg star stresses that making the breakthrough is always his main goal whenever he turns up for senior duty, but with a number of established attackers already ahead of him in the pecking order, he knows the challenge that awaits him in 2020.

“Every year I’ve come in, I’ve always aimed to be trying to start. I suppose it’s hard, you have to get your body ready as well as everything else. You have to get matured up to the level.

I suppose I have a lot of learnings from the last two seasons and I think I’m ready to make the step up now but it won’t be easy.

“I’ll have to put in the hard work and a bit of luck on your side and I suppose if I do get a chance I’ll have to take it. You wont be gifted anything too easy on this team and you’ll have to be in form to keep some of those lads off the team.”

Jake Morris was speaking at the announcement of UPMC as Official Healthcare Partner to the GAA/GPA. UPMC will work with the GAA/GPA to promote the health of Gaelic Players and the communities in which they play.

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