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Three Weeks Before Munster Hurling Final Were 'Difficult' For Hegarty

5 June 2022; Gearoid Hegarty of Limerick and performance psychologist Caroline Currid watch the closing moments of extra time in the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Clare at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

By PJ Browne

27 minutes into the Munster hurling final between Clare and Limerick, Gearóid Hegarty scored the goal which would ultimately separate the two sides on the scoreboard.

After taking a handpass from Tom Morrissey at the top of the Clare D, two defenders converged on Hegarty, but a wonderful piece of hurling wizardry saw him scoop the sliotar over Diarmuid Ryan's head before racing towards goal and striking past Eibhear Quilligan.

"I hope I'm wrong, but I'd say I won't score a sweeter one than that; it was a great feeling," says Hegarty, speaking at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy's State of Play campaign.

16 June 2022; Pictured is Bord Gáis Energy ambassador Gearóid Hegarty at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy's State of Play campaign to promote allyship and inclusion in team sports. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Hegarty says the three weeks building up to the Munster final had been tough. He'd been sent off after receiving two yellow cards as Clare and Limerick drew in the Munster round robin in Ennis.

"With everything that happened in the previous game, the group stage game in Cusack Park, it was a difficult enough couple of weeks for me leading into the Munster final because every single person I met, whether it be in school or on the street, were all coming up talking to me about the red card incident. It was the one thing I didn't want to talk about," he says.

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"I just found it mentally draining for the two weeks after the group game. The week of the game, I just really shut myself off and stayed as private as I could be. I do find it a little mentally draining when there are that many people coming up to you. Sunday evening, when I went home after the group game, I just wanted to forget about it, and move on - I was over it, I was done.

"It was a nice release for me to get that goal after a couple of weeks that was mentally draining for me."

Hegarty, who thinks he should not have been sent-off against Clare, says the red card and the weeks which followed "would have bothered me a lot more a couple of years ago when I was a little younger, a little bit more inexperienced".

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"You can look at every situation as a positive or a negative," says the 2020 Hurler of the Year.

"People only wanted to come up, chat to me and wish me well, and tell me x and y should have happened, and x and y shouldn't have happened.

"All these moments that you have to deal with before games, during games, are all learning experiences. It's something you can draw on in the future.

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"One of the games this year, I was dying sick for three or four days before one of the group games in Munster. I didn't think I'd be able to play at all. You just wake up the morning of the game, have adrenalin in your body and just get through it. It's another reference point to draw on going into the future."

As part of the campaign, Bord Gáis Energy, sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, has created 32 limited edition GAA County Pride t-shirts where county pride meets pride in supporting the LGBTQI+ community. The t-shirts are on sale from today at hairybaby.com for €20 and all proceeds will go to Focus Ireland to support young members of the LGBTQI+ community who are experiencing homelessness.

See Also: How Joe Canning Would Make Hurling A Better Spectacle

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