Flanagan determined to win back to back All-Irelands
By John Harrington
One All-Ireland title isnt enough for rising Limerick hurling star, Seamus Flanagan.
The Feohanagh-Castlemahon club-man says everyone in their camp is determined to create history by becoming the first Limerick team to win back to back All-Irelands.
Youre not looking to be put down as anyone, youre like this team or youre like that team, we want to make our own history, said Flanagan at the launch of Electric Irelands Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championships.
It was our first win in 45 years but thats not going to be enough for us.
When your average age of the team is 23, who wants to have won at 23 and then not win again for another 10 years? Thats nothing.
You want to be putting back-to-back titles, if not more and were just going to focus on this year, get through that league, hopefully, get what we can out of the league, and thats our priority at the moment.
But when Championship comes around, its going to be all go again and hopefully, youll see us back in Croke Park on All Ireland final day.
Retaining an All-Ireland hurling title is no easy task as teams like Galway and Tipperary have discovered in recent years.
When youre the defending champion theres a target on your back, but Flanagan isnt worried about that prospect in the slightest.
Sure look, there is, he said. Playing as All Ireland champions, theres always a target on your back but were going to take that in our stride, were a young team, weve had that in U21s, weve had that in minor, whats it again in senior?
Weve all grown up together, weve all played on the same teams, everyone on that team bar the likes of Nickie Quaid and Graeme Mulcahy.
So its huge but whatever, were going to take that on our backs and take it in our stride and bring on anyone who wants to take us on.
Gearid Hegarty, left, and Samus Flanagan of Limerick leave the pitch with the Liam MacCarthy Cup after victory over Galway in the 2018 All-Ireland SHC Final.
Flanagan has revealed that the week before the All-Ireland Final last year Limericks B team defeated their A team in an in-house challenge match.
Its not just that strength in depth that makes him very confident about the year ahead, but also the cast-iron belief that theres no team out there capable of outworking this group of Limerick hurlers.
You saw, for most of the All Ireland final, I was out in the half-forward line and in between that half-forward and full-forward line.
Its very hard for a full-back to mark you when youre in between those two lines because he doesnt know whether to follow or whether to stay back. Again, its just sole work rate.
Our game plan, people say our game plan is easy to read, how do you read work rate? You cant plan for work rate and the only thing that a team can do is out-work us and no one is going to out-work us because, as much as someone else works, were going to work 10 times harder, off the ball, on the ball, hooking, blocking, chasing down that ball, its just going to be massive work rate.
You cant out-work us because were going to out-work anyone that we play. You can plan all you want for us, mark us, drop a sweeper, drop two sweepers, but once we work harder than you, were going to beat you, were going to get those hooks, get those blocks, get those scores and I dont know how you can plan against that.