"It was a long hard two years for me," Mike Casey said after being named Man of the Match in Limerick's victory over Tipperary in the Munster Hurling Championship on Sunday.
Casey missed both of Limerick's last two All-Ireland winning campaigns. The Limerick fullback sustained a knee injury ahead of the 2020 championship, and subsequently suffered setbacks during his recovery. In a March league game against Offaly, Casey made his first Limerick appearance in two years.
"Every time I get to pull on the jersey, I'm just full of pride," Casey told RTÉ.
"I'm just delighted to be out there with my best friends, and hurling for Limerick again."
'We were trying to do too much at times'
Man of the match Mike Casey reflects on Limerick's victory over Tipperary
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For long parts of Sunday's game, it looked as though Tipperary would pick up an unexpected victory over the All-Ireland champions. However, Limerick dominated the final 10 minutes, eventually winning 3-21 to 0-23.
"We knew Tipp were coming here with nothing to lose," said Casey.
"It was always going to be a massive battle.
"We can only focus on yourselves. That's the sort of group we have, we only focus on ourselves. No matter what is going on outside, we can only control what we can control. That's what we tried to do today.
"[The message at half-time] was just to settle on the ball. We've been here, we've done it, we know what it takes. Just settle on the ball, go back into a groove. We were maybe trying to do a bit too much at times."
'Mike Casey has been outstanding'
Former Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy said Casey looks like he will be a key part of the Limerick defence this championship.
"Limerick didn't have their finest hour today," said Sheedy.
"They were under pressure for a long time in the game, but Mike Casey stood solid on the edge of that square. Some of his defending is of the highest order. For a guy that is only coming back in, he's been outstanding. He's going to be a hard nut to crack inside that defence."