When it’s put to Galway star Gearóid McInerney that their Leinster SHC final defeat to Kilkenny was wasted in Croke Park given the poor atmosphere at GAA HQ, his response is a reminder of what GAA life was like just two years ago.
Since Covid, whether there’s a big crowd or not there, you’ll still hear them. The years before, it was a bit weird with the crowds not being there. It’s nice to have the noise back,” McInerney said.
Croke Park has not been a happy hunting ground for the Tribesmen since their 2017 All-Ireland final victory though, with just one win from eight games at the Jones’ Road venue in the five years that have followed.
Thurles has been a much luckier venue given that that’s where they landed the 2018 Leinster final replay against Kilkenny, as well as their All-Ireland semi-final replay against Clare later that year, and they return to Semple Stadium on Saturday.
Only four counties – Offaly in 1998, Cork in 2004, Kilkenny in 2012 and Tipperary in ’19 – have bounced back from provincial final heartbreak to lift Liam MacCarthy later that year and McInerney is eager to get back on the horse.
Cork stand in their way in an All-Ireland quarter-final – with the winners facing reigning champions Limerick – and McInerney insists that the Tribesmen haven’t got bogged down analysing their Leinster final no-show.
“We don’t get bogged down on analysis,” the 2017 All-Star said. “We don’t like to over-analyse anything. Anything that can be done on the training field, any problem solving needs to go on on the field.”
As for the sideshow of Shefflin versus his former master Brian Cody and the commentary that surrounded their handshake following the Leinster final, McInerney pays no attention to it.
“There’s been enough said about it now. It’s probably time to park it and move on, and start talking about the hurling. I haven’t really looked into it, or put too much thought into it. I know there’s a lot of outside noise on it, but we’re just moving on to the next one.”