Antrim are worth the trip from Tipp says All-Ireland winner Liam Sheedy
STANDING on the sideline last September, watching as a sea of green and gold took over the field at Ballycastle after Dunloy’s county final win over Cushendall, Liam Sheedy was left in no doubt about exactly what hurling means to the people of Antrim.
“The colour, the energy, the crowd, the atmosphere, the whole lot… there’s a lot of counties would envy Antrim has,” said Sheedy.
“I’ve only been up there a few weeks but I’ve been really struck by the passion of the people involved, the passion they have for the game of hurling. It’s as strong as anywhere I’ve ever been.”
First sounded out by the Saffrons management team of Terence McNaughton, Dominic McKinley, Gary O’Kane and Neal Peden about lending a helping hand, Sheedy had a major decision to make.
An eight hour round trip from his home in the Premier County is not something to be taken lightly but, having spoken to the people involved and seen at first hand the passion for the game, he agreed to come on board in an advisory capacity.
“Whoever wrote the song ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, they weren’t lying, I’ll tell you that,” smiles the 2010 All-Ireland winning manager, who travels up to Dunsilly “two or three times” a month.
“I knew Terence from the 2020 hurling committee and the lads came down to a minor match in Thurles, we had a chat, and that’s how it came about really.
“I’m just trying to help and support the lads to get the best out of the group, and to hopefully give them a bit of insight as someone who has been fortunate enough to have been involved with high performance teams over the years.
“The players who have come in have been brilliant in terms of the attitude, the effort they’re putting in and their willingness to try and get the team to improve.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the low base we’re coming from, in terms of getting heavily beaten in the Christy Ring Cup final, but there’s a great willingness to improve things.
“This group is really trying hard, and you can ask no more. Every time I drive up, I’ve yet to drive out of there in bad form. You get a buzz being involved, and it’s great working with players who want to better themselves every time they go out on the pitch.
“I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen to date.”