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'No Coincidence We've Been Successful The Years She's Been With Us'

'No Coincidence We've Been Successful The Years She's Been With Us'
By PJ Browne Updated
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Running out onto the Croke Park pitch for last month's All-Ireland semi-final against Galway, Tom Morrissey felt more relaxed than ever ahead of a big game.

There were a few factors, the freshest being the absence of a crowd in the stadium.

"You’re able to get your feel for the game that bit easier," said Morrissey during Limerick's pre All-Ireland final press night.

"Those nerves aren’t there. You could see that in the players as well the way we’re playing. There is a lot more composure on the ball. Games are high scoring.

"The fact that it’s an empty stadium allows for it to be that bit more relaxed and composed on the ball and you can see that in the performances."

The half-forward has been in superb form this season and is in the conversation for Hurler of the Year. His mounting big match experience has aided him in being calmer during games.

He remembers his first big match at Croke Park, when the Limerick minors lost to Galway in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. Morrissey feels he put too much pressure on himself to perform.

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"On that particular day it didn’t go well for me at all at all," he said.

"You learn from those experiences as you get older, wiser and more mature. You learn how to deal with the big days."

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There's also sports psychologist Caroline Currid being involved with the Limerick hurlers once again. Currid worked with them in 2017 and then 2018 when they ended a 45-year All-Ireland drought.

She was absent last year but has returned for this campaign. Getting athletes into a headspace where they can perform on the big day - like this weekend when Limerick face Waterford in the All-Ireland final - is the crux of what she does.

"There’s no secret that Caroline is very successful at what she does," said Morrissey.

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"She came in with us 2017, 2018 for an initial two-year stint.

"Her being involved with the set-up, it’s not a coincidence that we have been successful in the years she has been with us. She’s a top, top woman. She does have a big influence.

"She does maybe give us that edge that you need to be competitive at this level. As do many people involved in that management and backroom. We’re surrounded by a lot of top class people. They each give us a competitive advantage that you need to have over other teams at this level.

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"Every young fella going out playing for his county, whether playing minor championship or under-21, you’re just mad to do well. You want to do your best. You probably put too much pressure on yourself.

"Maybe being more relaxed and having people like Caroline involved, who are very good in that regard. That’s her field, to get players to be relaxed and perform and be at their peak on match day.

"But it also comes with playing so much in big games with Limerick, that itself is a help. You learn to not give yourself that unrealistic expectation, putting those enormous pressures on yourself going out on match day. You’re only going out to do your best and work hard. Things will usually fall then in place."

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See Also: The Finest Rants And Controversies Of Ger Loughnane's Entertaining Career

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