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'I actually watched the All-Ireland in Portugal last year, drinking a few bottles of Corona and sitting back relaxing'

After 2018 was cut short, Jamie Barron is aiming to make his mark with Waterford this year.

Jamie Barron at today's Allianz hurling league finals preview.
Jamie Barron at today's Allianz hurling league finals preview.
Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

A TALE OF two season-ending afternoons.

As the 2017 hurling championship drew to a halt, Jamie Barron was in the thick of it in Croke Park as Waterford fought desperately to keep alive their All-Ireland hopes. They succumbed to Galway by three points, the wait for glory since 1959 further prolonged.

Fast forward twelve months and Barron was watching from afar, Waterford’s season being cut short in mid-summer affording him the opportunity to go on holiday. When the Liam MacCarthy Cup was presented and Limerick rejoiced, the two-time All-Star was out of the country.

The loss to Cork on 17 June saw Waterford sign off from their 2018 hurling endeavours, the new truncated campaign contributing to an unusually early exit.

“It was very hard, watching the likes of the Limerick and Cork All-Ireland semi, and then the Galway and Clare replay and stuff like that. It was very hard to watch at home, watching them super games.

“I went on two holidays. I went to Spain and I went to Portugal, with the lads and with my girlfriend. It was nice to be able to do them things that I haven’t been able to do the last few years. It would refresh you in a way, and you’re good to go again then.

“I actually watched the All Ireland Portugal last year, I suppose drinking a few bottles of Corona and sitting back relaxing! It’s tough to watch, you’d love to be there yourself obviously.

“I think even at that time you’d be saying to yourself it’s time to get back on the horse, get home and get training. Ultimately, it’s after driving us on even more. Going back training, it’s a lot easier than if you’re tired or if you feel like you’ve been on the road a long time.

Jamie Barron with Gearoid McInerney Jamie Barron in action in the 2017 All-Ireland senior hurling final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“As well as that, we got a chance to do whatever we wanted to during the summer, which is (the) one summer I’ve sought after for a while. It’s refreshed us as a team and we’re mad to get back at it, at places like Croke Park where we go at it again and hopefully win trophies.”

It was a disjointed championship for Waterford, the team hit relentlessly with setbacks like the lack of home advantage and a series of injuries.

“They are excuses,” states Barron.

“The venue we didn’t look that too much into. We had games in Thurles and Limerick where we like playing anyway, but I suppose the injuries were more misfortune because you can’t really account for them.

“We got five in one game which was a bit of a freak, and it probably was a setback, but ultimately you don’t want to make excuses, and this year we are looking to build on our panel and have more than 15 to 20 players who are well able to come on and do a job when needed throughout the four week championship.”

Their hopes for the season ahead soared further with the news last month that the doors of Walsh Park will be opened for Waterford’s home championship ties.

A general view of Walsh Park before the game Walsh Park will host Waterford's home ties against Clare and Limerick this summer. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“As a team, we’re delighted,” says Barron.

“Maybe for even recovery purposes throughout the four-week period, being on the road can take its toll on you, mentally as well as physically. Just to have them at home and get the crowd behind us and get the Waterford supporters behind us will be massive again for us. We’re really looking forward to doing that in about six weeks’ time.

“I have never really played in Walsh Park when it’s packed to the maximum capacity. So really looking forward to that atmosphere and what it’s going to give to us and hopefully drive on the team when push comes to shove in those championship games.”

Before they fully switch into championship mode, Waterford have a league final date on Sunday against Limerick to consume their thoughts. 

Back in 2015 the spring title success was a springboard for a journey deep into the summer. They’ll hope to replicate that after this Croke Park clash.

“The league has been good to us in ways over the last few years, 2015 was great for us to win and to get the show on the road for us as a group of players.

“This year, it’s probably more about getting the show back on the road for us due to last year being a failure, a year that was more so written off in our copybooks.

“So we’re looking to restart and get going again and Sunday’s league can be the kickstart we need for our 2019 campaign.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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