Limerick centre-forward, Tom Morrissey, has insisted that his county will need to keep improving and evolving if they are to stay ahead of the game.
Limerick cemented their status as the best team of the country when they back up their All Ireland win with their first National League title in 22 years.
As they are heavy favourites to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup, they will be heavily analysed by their opposition, especially in a highly-competitive Munster Championship.
However, outside scrutiny is not something that concerns Morrissey.
“To be honest, I, personally, haven’t thought about it too much and not too many of the lads have. We’ve handled the tag of All-Ireland champions well since we won and with that has come the increase of spotlight, both from other teams and the media.
“Internally, we’re very focused on what we have to do and it doesn’t affect us too much.”
Teams have tested a number of different approaches against Limerick with some attempting to out-smart them at their own game while we have seen the likes of Dublin deploy a sweeper to attempt to cut out the effectiveness of their half-forward line.
Morrissey knows that if Limerick are to stay one step ahead, they need to constantly evolve their game and he is confident that they have done so since last season.
“We made nice subtle evolvements and experiments to our game plan that maybe some people might not have realised, but it’s definitely, you know that phrase, ‘when you’re on top, that’s when you need to change your game’.
“We’re definitely doing that with the hope of pushing on and reclaiming the All-Ireland.”
The 22-year-old was an integral part of Limerick’s set-up last year and was, perhaps, unlucky to finish his campaign without an All-Star medal considering his 1-21 contribution from play.
However, for him, the most pleasing aspect of his game has been finding a role in which he can get involved in the play.
“I’ve found a role that suited the stronger aspects of my game and allowed me to flourish within our system. For me, that’s being around the middle third. Staying involved in the game as much as possible and it allows me to get tackles in and get contact as much as possible.
“Each individual, if they feel like they’re improving and continuing an upward trajectory of self-improvement, they’re obviously going to be more confident when they go out playing.
“That seemed to be the case for myself that I got game time under my belt in the league and managed to cement a starting jersey for championship. That experience of game time at the top level and performing solidly throughout the year allowed me to gain confidence game-on-game.”
Hurling won’t be the only thing on the mind of the Ahane club man this summer as he looks to finish off his Masters in Taxation in the University of Limerick. Following that, Morrissey will begin his career in his home county, news that will no doubt please the Limerick management and fans alike.
“I actually start my exams tomorrow. I then have my thesis to do over the summer until August. It’s only a one-year Masters and I’ll be finished the college life.
“It’ll be a busy summer but it always is. I’m hoping it’ll be a long summer on the pitch as well.
“I’m going into Ernest and Young then for a grad contract for three and a half years so it’ll keep me based in Limerick.”
Three of Gaelic Games’ most stylish hurlers, both on and off the pitch, today launched Littlewoods Ireland’s #StyleOfPlay campaign for the 2019 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. 2017 All Ireland and All-Star winner Gearoid McInerney, reigning All Ireland Champion Tom Morrissey and top scorer of 2018 Peter Duggan were in Dublin to announce the launch of the campaign.