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Family matters

Loughgiel boss PJ O'Mullan

WHEN they board the bus on Friday to head down for an overnight stay in the Regency Hotel, PJ O’Mullan senior and junior probably will not think too much about sentiment.

Two Shamrocks men, father and son, still on the road together trying to recreate that famous day in 1983.

We won’t go into that just now, the chances are that a piece commemorating that team will be on its way shortly.

More likely, they will be thinking of the job in hand, which is the best opportunity they will have to get back to playing hurling on an All-Ireland final day. They face Limerick’s newest champions Na Piarsaigh for a place in the Paddy’s Day decider and they know exactly what to expect.

Twelve months ago, they travelled down to Parnell Park more in hope than expectation, having finally secured an Antrim Championship after losing six finals. They emerging blinking into the light and got mown down, victims of their own inexperience.

This year will be different. They are now much better prepared and the weather has allowed PJ Junior to get a clear run at preparing the team.

“Since we came back training, we took November off. Then we had a week off in December, just a few days either side of Christmas. But in the build-up to the semi-final, we have had 40 training sessions, including challenge matches.

“We believe we have learned a lot from last year. The one thing in our favour this year was the weather. We lost out in six weeks training and we haven’t lost out on that this year.

“The players are far more relaxed, in training in particular their minds are very focused, their touch, everything seems to be coming good at the right time for them. I think last year was a learning curve, and the Kilkenny factor was there too.”

If you would like to read the whole story, buy the current issue of Gaelic Life – published February 9 – online or in your local newsagent


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