Junior Member Denis O’Connell’s interview with Brendan Cummins

I am Denis O’Connell. I am a member of the Templederry Juvenile Club. I would like to say that I really enjoyed my interview with Brendan Cummins before the County Final. He was very friendly and he seemed to be in no hurry to leave after the interview. I had a lovely chat with him and an experience I will never forget. I will hold that Match Programme as a pleasant memory for many years. I was very happy to win this prize as a Junior Member.

Tipperary Supporters Club Junior Membership. This interview with Brendan Cummins was won as a prize by Denis O’Connell, who is a Junior Member.  The interview was printed in the match programme for the County Senior Hurling Final.  You can join as FREE Junior Member on www.tippsupportersclub.com  .

Denis is 13, plays with the Templederry Club and is in Nenagh CBS. He is related to Willie Ryan and Pa Bourke. 

The Tipperary Supporters Club would like to thank Brendan who give so willingly of his time for this interview.

1. Do you still wear your Manchester United jersey under your Tipperary one?

Question from: John Coffey, Moycarkey.

Yes, I’m wearing it since 1993 for all games, club and county, even in challenge matches. It’s like a comfort blanket for me!

2. (a) Of the different designs of goalie jerseys down the years which do you least prefer?

Joey Kelly and Karl Kelly (twins), Ballinahinch Club.

It was the gold one from 2005 or thereabouts. Tim Floyd asked me for my opinion beforehand and even though it looked ok then, when it came to match time I didn’t like it at all!

(b) How much training do you do on your own? Do you do any training in a ball alley/hurling wall?

I use the ball alley in Ardfinnan which has four walls and is all closed in and I would be in there for 15 minute sessions in the lead up to Championship matches. I also use the wall ball in the club.

3. What do you think about the new rule the GAA have introduced that all players must wear helmets?

Caitríona O’Connor, Brooklands Drive, Nenagh.

I will have to get used to it. It is a good rule and should have come in years ago especially as I would always encourage young players to wear a helmet. This year against Cork the penalty was struck and hit me in the wrist but it could have done more damage if it hit me on the head. The ball is travelling faster in modern hurling.

4. You are my hurling hero, who would you say is yours?

James Finn, Garrykennedy, Portroe.

Nicky English is my main man. I was lucky to have played with Nicky and he was our manager when we won the All-Ireland in 2001

5. How do you hit the sliothar so far?

Tom Maher, Castleknock Hurling and Football Club, Dublin.

Technique makes a difference. When I was young we had a small yard and I would use a heavy broken football so that it would not go out over the fence but it was great training for distance. Also, when I prepare for the Poc Fada I use a sliothar soaked in a bucket of water overnight and it strengthens up your shoulders naturally without having to use weights.

6. What made you try out for the Tipperary team?

Aoife Brennan, Maudemount Cross, Dundrum.

When I was 14, I was asked to go to a trial and I got on that team and stayed there up along the age groups. I always wanted to be in goals, diving around like Peter Schmeichel from Manchester United!

7. (a) Would you like to become the Tipp Captain next year? I think you would make a good Captain!

Denis O’Connell, Glenduff, Curreeny (Templederry Club).

Like everyone else, I would love to captain my county but when you play for Tipperary every player must take on the responsibility and play like a captain every time.

(b) How many hurleys do you keep in your gear bag?

I use 3 hurleys for puck outs, with different weights for different distances. I used the same hurley for 9 years for puck outs until that broke. Then the one I used for saves broke against Cork this year. It was nearly a panic for me to get used to a new one in time for the Clare game!

(c) Have you a favourite sliothar?

Yes, anyone one other than the one used in 2003 which was like a ping-pong ball! When Cork started using the Cummins ball first, I had not practiced with it but once I bought a few of them and brought them to the ball alley there was no problem. Overall though the O’Neills one is the one I like best.

(d) Who makes your hurleys?

Jim O’Brien in Drangan is the man.

(e) Do you still play football?

Unfortunately, I have not played football for 3 years. I decided that I would go all out for hurling when I got my second chance, in case I got injured playing football. I enjoyed playing football but playing with Tipperary is special to me and I cannot take the risk.

(f) What did you really say to the Referee when you asked him about that penalty in the All-Ireland Final?

I could not believe that a penalty had been awarded as I can see the 14 metre line from the goals. The referee told Paul Curran that the free was for hand around the neck. I then asked the referee to look at the big screen because it was so important. After that I had to go back and prepare to try to save the free. It is important to be fully concentrated on preparing everyone for the save rather than be distracted with anything else, which could effect your heart rate and reflexes.

(g) Would you like your son to go on to be a goalkeeper or to be outfield when he gets older?

I’m not sure I would like him to be a goalie as I could not watch the matches! Goalies can be under a lot of pressure. It will be his own choice.

8. Did you always play in goal?

Andrew Ormond, Forest, Templemore.

Yes, but I played out field for the Club a few times. My father was playing in goals for the Club and I was a sub! My father claims he retired to let me play in goals! So I have worn a helmet when playing out the field.

9. How did you become such a class goalkeeper and how do you feel about being nominated for another All-Star?

Patrick Finn, Garrykennedy, Portroe.

It’s all down to practice. Every day I am thinking about hurling or I’m training. It’s part of my life and I am lucky to be able to do it. I am keen to listen and improve my game whenever I can. It is important to have the drive to win. All-Stars can be nice for recognition but the key thing is if I am happy with my performances and getting better than last year rather than being ahead of other players.

10. Who is the best penalty taker that you have ever faced?

Liam Coman, Naomh Jude Club, Templeogue, Dublin.

Paul Flynn of Waterford is deadly because of putting top spin on it. Similar to this year with the shot against Clare, it’s a massive skill to start the shot going above the crossbar and then dip it under it. This year against Cork was the fastest penalty I have seen.

11. I’m a goalkeeper but I struggle to catch the ball. How do you catch it under pressure?

Niall Ryan, Boolteeny, Dolla (Silvermines Club).

The key thing is to concentrate on the ball and not on the player who has hit it. I was told that if you do something 23 times it becomes a habit! If you train hard enough and often enough, instinct takes over and automatic reactions happen in a match based on all the training. Also you must use mistakes to make you stronger, deal with it and move on. Also try to forget that the goals are behind you as they can put pressure on you. You can always judge where your goals are by looking down the field at the other goals.

Thanks very much Denis and best of luck with your hurling career!

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Junior Member Denis O’Connell’s interview with Brendan Cummins

I am Denis O’Connell. I am a member of the Templederry Juvenile Club. I would like to say that I really enjoyed my interview with Brendan Cummins before the County Final. He was very friendly and he seemed to be in no hurry to leave after the interview. I had a lovely chat with him and an experience I will never forget. I will hold that Match Programme as a pleasant memory for many years. I was very happy to win this prize as a Junior Member.

Tipperary Supporters Club Junior Membership. This interview with Brendan Cummins was won as a prize by Denis O’Connell, who is a Junior Member.  The interview was printed in the match programme for the County Senior Hurling Final.  You can join as FREE Junior Member on www.tippsupportersclub.com  .

Denis is 13, plays with the Templederry Club and is in Nenagh CBS. He is related to Willie Ryan and Pa Bourke. 

The Tipperary Supporters Club would like to thank Brendan who give so willingly of his time for this interview.

1. Do you still wear your Manchester United jersey under your Tipperary one?

Question from: John Coffey, Moycarkey.

Yes, I’m wearing it since 1993 for all games, club and county, even in challenge matches. It’s like a comfort blanket for me!

2. (a) Of the different designs of goalie jerseys down the years which do you least prefer?

Joey Kelly and Karl Kelly (twins), Ballinahinch Club.

It was the gold one from 2005 or thereabouts. Tim Floyd asked me for my opinion beforehand and even though it looked ok then, when it came to match time I didn’t like it at all!

(b) How much training do you do on your own? Do you do any training in a ball alley/hurling wall?

I use the ball alley in Ardfinnan which has four walls and is all closed in and I would be in there for 15 minute sessions in the lead up to Championship matches. I also use the wall ball in the club.

3. What do you think about the new rule the GAA have introduced that all players must wear helmets?

Caitríona O’Connor, Brooklands Drive, Nenagh.

I will have to get used to it. It is a good rule and should have come in years ago especially as I would always encourage young players to wear a helmet. This year against Cork the penalty was struck and hit me in the wrist but it could have done more damage if it hit me on the head. The ball is travelling faster in modern hurling.

4. You are my hurling hero, who would you say is yours?

James Finn, Garrykennedy, Portroe.

Nicky English is my main man. I was lucky to have played with Nicky and he was our manager when we won the All-Ireland in 2001

5. How do you hit the sliothar so far?

Tom Maher, Castleknock Hurling and Football Club, Dublin.

Technique makes a difference. When I was young we had a small yard and I would use a heavy broken football so that it would not go out over the fence but it was great training for distance. Also, when I prepare for the Poc Fada I use a sliothar soaked in a bucket of water overnight and it strengthens up your shoulders naturally without having to use weights.

6. What made you try out for the Tipperary team?

Aoife Brennan, Maudemount Cross, Dundrum.

When I was 14, I was asked to go to a trial and I got on that team and stayed there up along the age groups. I always wanted to be in goals, diving around like Peter Schmeichel from Manchester United!

7. (a) Would you like to become the Tipp Captain next year? I think you would make a good Captain!

Denis O’Connell, Glenduff, Curreeny (Templederry Club).

Like everyone else, I would love to captain my county but when you play for Tipperary every player must take on the responsibility and play like a captain every time.

(b) How many hurleys do you keep in your gear bag?

I use 3 hurleys for puck outs, with different weights for different distances. I used the same hurley for 9 years for puck outs until that broke. Then the one I used for saves broke against Cork this year. It was nearly a panic for me to get used to a new one in time for the Clare game!

(c) Have you a favourite sliothar?

Yes, anyone one other than the one used in 2003 which was like a ping-pong ball! When Cork started using the Cummins ball first, I had not practiced with it but once I bought a few of them and brought them to the ball alley there was no problem. Overall though the O’Neills one is the one I like best.

(d) Who makes your hurleys?

Jim O’Brien in Drangan is the man.

(e) Do you still play football?

Unfortunately, I have not played football for 3 years. I decided that I would go all out for hurling when I got my second chance, in case I got injured playing football. I enjoyed playing football but playing with Tipperary is special to me and I cannot take the risk.

(f) What did you really say to the Referee when you asked him about that penalty in the All-Ireland Final?

I could not believe that a penalty had been awarded as I can see the 14 metre line from the goals. The referee told Paul Curran that the free was for hand around the neck. I then asked the referee to look at the big screen because it was so important. After that I had to go back and prepare to try to save the free. It is important to be fully concentrated on preparing everyone for the save rather than be distracted with anything else, which could effect your heart rate and reflexes.

(g) Would you like your son to go on to be a goalkeeper or to be outfield when he gets older?

I’m not sure I would like him to be a goalie as I could not watch the matches! Goalies can be under a lot of pressure. It will be his own choice.

8. Did you always play in goal?

Andrew Ormond, Forest, Templemore.

Yes, but I played out field for the Club a few times. My father was playing in goals for the Club and I was a sub! My father claims he retired to let me play in goals! So I have worn a helmet when playing out the field.

9. How did you become such a class goalkeeper and how do you feel about being nominated for another All-Star?

Patrick Finn, Garrykennedy, Portroe.

It’s all down to practice. Every day I am thinking about hurling or I’m training. It’s part of my life and I am lucky to be able to do it. I am keen to listen and improve my game whenever I can. It is important to have the drive to win. All-Stars can be nice for recognition but the key thing is if I am happy with my performances and getting better than last year rather than being ahead of other players.

10. Who is the best penalty taker that you have ever faced?

Liam Coman, Naomh Jude Club, Templeogue, Dublin.

Paul Flynn of Waterford is deadly because of putting top spin on it. Similar to this year with the shot against Clare, it’s a massive skill to start the shot going above the crossbar and then dip it under it. This year against Cork was the fastest penalty I have seen.

11. I’m a goalkeeper but I struggle to catch the ball. How do you catch it under pressure?

Niall Ryan, Boolteeny, Dolla (Silvermines Club).

The key thing is to concentrate on the ball and not on the player who has hit it. I was told that if you do something 23 times it becomes a habit! If you train hard enough and often enough, instinct takes over and automatic reactions happen in a match based on all the training. Also you must use mistakes to make you stronger, deal with it and move on. Also try to forget that the goals are behind you as they can put pressure on you. You can always judge where your goals are by looking down the field at the other goals.

Thanks very much Denis and best of luck with your hurling career!

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