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I was very driven to make it at senior level, our minors need to be the same - Seamus Hickey

August’s GAA/GPA Hurler of the Month says it’s important they respond the right way from the All-Ireland final defeat.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SEAMUS HICKEY EXPECTS a number of Limerick’s All-Ireland minor hurling finalists to make the breakthrough to the senior set-up in the coming years – as long as their attitude is right.

Hickey, whose performances this summer saw him named the Opel GAA/GPA Hurling Player of the Month, admits he “just wanted to go home after the minor match”, such was the disappointment of their defeat to Kilkenny last Sunday.

“I was so disappointed and the disappointment came from the potential this team had. They were a really, really good group of hurlers and they were favourites going into the game, they were rightly favourites,” he said.

“I’d nearly want to call each and every one of them up and say, ‘It’s alright, life goes on’.”

While Hickey was extremely positive about their talents and the way they handled the pressure of an All-Ireland final, he feels they must have absolute focus and determination if they want to establish themselves at senior level.

“You win some, you lose some and it’s up to the individual how you respond. It becomes how driven are you to become a senior? How driven are you to become the best you can be? Do you want to improve now or did you get to an All-Ireland final and, to be honest now, that’s as much as I want to do?

Seamus Hickey 27/7/2014 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“It becomes a very individual thing from here. When I came out of minor it was a step. I knew where I wanted to go and I was very, very driven about it and I got very, very lucky in a lot of ways between one things and another, between when I was called up and I was able to get into the team but you have to be able to roll with those opportunities so it’s a question now of where those guys want to go and there’s a lot of very talented guys on that team.”

Hickey identified Ronan Lynch, Barry Nash, Cian Lynch, La Touche Cosgrove and Conor Byrne as a key group of players he would like to see integrated into the senior set-up in the coming years.

“That’s five (players) straight away but again you take it with a measure of calm that these guys aren’t ready to come on and light up senior. They need to be in and nurtured and develop instead of bring them in and expect them to hurl.

“So I would like to see a plan in place  a proper plan in place for personal development rather than throw you into the mix and see how you do that’s what I’d like to see.”

Hickey, clearly a deep thinker about the game, is impressed with Limerick’s underage structures. He believes the history of success in Ard Scoil Rís, combined with the vastly improved standard of coaching within the county, means Limerick are able to keep producing hurlers of the required standard.

“Out of the five I named, Ronan and Cian are inside in Ard Scoil Ris and it’s a different atmosphere. These guys don’t think that they are the best thing since sliced bread. These guys are coming from a very balanced programme of hurling where winning is just natural and comes natural to them.

David Moran with Seamus Hickey Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“They don’t think they are special - teams have gone before them and won Harty Cups and teams have gone before and won a minor Munster championship.

“I would say that they’re coming from a much better structure where the people we have involved at 14s, 15s and 16s, and they won the 16s two years ago, it’s better with superb leaders involved.

“Joe McKenna and Eamon Cregan involved, legends of the game who won’t tolerate young lads getting carried away. I’ve experience Joe McKenna and have huge experience from him in 2006.

“I love the fact that Limerick put these guys in place because it shows we’re serious about out underage and developing our youth. It’s super and hopefully we’ll see dividends.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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