Mount Leinster Rangers video star on cruciate heartache and that 'just Europa' comment

James Hickey will miss next Monday’s Croke Park showpiece but he’s been one of the stars of the season off the pitch.

James Hickey.
James Hickey.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

JAMES HICKEY WON’T feature in next Monday’s AIB All-Ireland senior club hurling final but the Mount Leinster Rangers stalwart has already left an indelible mark on the 2013-14 campaign.

Hickey, 32, was the man who featured in the AIB promotional video that went viral when urging his teammates to fulfil his dream of lining out at Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.

Hickey spoke passionately in the MLR dressing room before the semi-final victory against Loughgiel Shamrocks and his stirring words helped to inspire his teammates to a stunning victory.

Sadly, Hickey sustained cruciate knee ligament damage in a recent challenge game against Offaly but he remains upbeat despite that devastating setback.

And Hickey certainly hasn’t lost that razor-sharp sense of humour when reminded of his ‘Harry Redknapp moment’ earlier in the season.

When asked by RTE what it felt like to win the Leinster club title last December, a rather worse for wear Hickey got his words jumbled up.

“Greatest night of my life – my wife probably won’t want to hear that!” Hickey smiled from the passenger seat of a friend’s car.

“She gave birth nine weeks ago to our son JP but I said it a couple of times yesterday and she checked me up on it.

“But I’m sorry – it was the greatest day of my life and the greatest night. It was just Europa!”

James meant to say “euphoria” and he lets out a hearty laugh when reminded of that TV appearance.

“In my defence I was after going to bed about 8am that morning! This was around ten – I hadn’t a clue.

“A better one – that Monday evening we were in a pub in Borris and I saw myself on the six o’clock news!

“Lucky Davy Fitz didn’t seem me or he’d say I was on drugs!”

Source: Larry Ryan/YouTube

Hickey would dearly love to recreate those scenes next week but MLR must upset red-hot favourites Portumna to lift the Tommy Moore Cup.

And Hickey remembers how talk of a potential All-Ireland tilt surfaced in the immediate aftermath of that historic provincial success.

He says: “That night was brilliant but what was brilliant was the next day. We met in Borris and went to Ballymurphy and had a few beers.

“We only drank on the Monday and went back training on the Wednesday. We’re not drinkers but we did enjoy the Sunday night and Monday!

“Just all being together, all in the same pub, no one kinda knew where we were…we were just able to sit back and talk about it and then it hit home.

“The odd tear was shed and everything but then the conversation started – we’re after winning but we’re in bonus territory now.

“Sure we’ve nothing to lose, let’s kick on now and see where it takes us.”

If MLR can vault that final hurdle, we hope that RTE send another TV crew down to Borris. Champions League, anyone?

Source: AIB Bank/YouTube

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