Hurling and camogie

Tipperary hurling legend Séamus Callanan bowled over by Antrim welcome

Tipperary's Séamus Callanan was overwhelmed by the welcome in Antrim

TIPPERARY hurling legend Seamus Callanan paid a glowing tribute to Antrim GAA following their weekend visit north and was overwhelmed by the welcome they received.

The All-Ireland champions were in Belfast to play Antrim in a challenge game and to honour the memory of Fr Alex Reid, a Nenagh native and a key player in building the Peace Process.

After being substituted in the closing stages of Sunday's 10-point win over their hosts, the 28-year-old Allstar forward heaped praise on Antrim officialdom and the hundreds of children that attended their training session at Woodlands Park.

“It’s been absolutely brilliant," he said.

"The Antrim county board put on a great show for us and we’re very grateful to come up here and remember such a great man in Fr Alex Reid. It’s just been a brilliant weekend and it’s great to have that connection with Antrim GAA now.

“Coming out of Tipperary and getting that kind of support from the kids was amazing. Even at training on Saturday [at Woodlands Park] there must have been 800 or 900 kids there. We got a great lift out of it. As much as we gave to the kids they gave us so much more – it was incredible.”

Callanan, who notched 2-5, was impressed with the quality of Antrim's hurling.

“Antrim have fabulous hurlers. They’re a fine team. When we played Ulster in the Inter-provincials before Christmas it was a great game in Semple Stadium; players like Neil McManus, there are some fabulous talents."

With their opening NFL Division One game against Dublin just 11 days away, the Drom-Inch clubman says Tipperary's hunger for success hasn't been sated by last September's epic triumph over Kilkenny.

“We’re only in the early stages of the year. We’re preparing for our League campaign, you’re building blocks along the way. The hunger is there even more this year – we have to up the levels again and we know that. That’s our aim – to get a few more per cent out of ourselves.”

“There weren’t too much celebrations after last year's All-Ireland – there were a couple of days and we moved on to the club championship straight away. It was a case of we wanted it so badly, we got the job done and now our sights are firmly fixed on 2017.

"There is a line drawn under 2016 now."

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Hurling and camogie