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Tyrrell: 'I didn't think I'd be that emotional at all'
By Cian O'Connell
A month after announcing his inter-county retirement Jackie Tyrrell cuts a satisfied figure.
Even as word filters through about Kilkenny returning to training for the 2017 campaign Tyrrell is at peace with his decision. "It's a kind of a weird feeling, it's just a lot more relaxed and chilled out obviously," Tyrrell admits.
"When you're playing, I always felt I was on the clock, always pushing. Getting back training, thinking of nothing else, now totally chilled out.
"The Kilkenny lads are back, I didn't know what way I'd feel when I heard that. But it's fine. It'll probably be different in the summer. Very happy and content."
It has been an emotional stint for Tyrrell, who won nine All Ireland senior medals during a glittering career. "I'm just kind of floating along," Tyrrell responds when asked is it to early to realise how different life will be away from the Kilkenny set-up.
"I'd say until we actually turn the year, that'll start coming at me then. Right now I'm just, it's a kind of a weird feeling.
"Even the day I retired, very, very emotional. I didn't think I'd be that emotional at all. Obviously your teammates might make contact and lads you played against or people like you'd meet in Kilkenny, they'd come up shaking your hand. It was a lovely day. I really enjoyed it. It was really emotional and really hit hard."
Despite Kilkenny's defensive problems in the All Ireland decider Tyrrell wasn't summoned from the bench, but the James Stephens clubman isn't dwelling on that harrowing September afternoon. "I wouldn't even individualise it like that," Tyrrell says. "Last year would probably make me appreciate all the other years more often.
"At times it was frustrating when you're not playing, everyone wants to be playing. That's just par for the course. It's not about me, it's about the team and if you don't have that mentality, you'll not be successful. Absolutely you're frustrated but it's just about parking it then and moving on."
Tyrrell laughs about JJ Delaney's send off following the 2014 All Ireland Final replay win over Tipperary. "Ah sure JJ's the ultimate ending, ride off into the sunset with an All-Ireland, an All-Star and that hook he made on Seamus Callanan. But I went back and I said my God, am I comfortable with every scenario. That being the top end and the other not making the 30. I said to myself that actually I am."
The victory over Tipp remains a cherished memory. 2014, the All-Ireland replay against Tipperary was an amazing, amazing day," Tyrrell reflects. "That was definitely my best 70 minutes in a Kilkenny jersey. Obviously we hadn't had the best day as a set of backs the previous one and I remember marking Bubbles O'Dwyer that day and after 45 seconds I blocked him down in the middle of the field and Paul Murphy came up and blocked Lar Corbett.
"That was just the tempo for the day and we brought it for 70 minutes. It was just a hugely satisfying day for us that day."
Jackie Tyrrell in Allianz Hurling League action last March.
The 34 year-old discusses the conversation in which he informed Brian Cody about his decision to step away from the inter-county arena. "Pretty short, matter of fact," Tyrrell remarks about the discussion.
"He said some nice things about me, and we spoke briefly about our time, the journey. And I thanked him for giving me the opportunity.
"In fairness he said no, and I said, Brian, in fairness, you put your head on the block for me. I came in off a not great underage career. A few nice things he said."
Tyrrell feels that Kilkenny will go through a transition spell over the coming months. "Yeah I would say so and there's very much an element of uncertainty that would kind of mirror 2014 and back in '06.
"There's is a bit of transition and the lads will have to look and find some players and there's not like in 2006 where we had two u-21s on the back of to really pull lads out of so that's the challenge for Brian Cody and the lads to do that and I'm sure they've been sifting through players in games the last while and they're looking at guys now they need to work on."
Tyrrell highlighted the role Brother Damien Brennan had on his hurling career. "He was massive in my career," Tyrrell acknowledges. "I'd say he would have helped me an awful lot more than Henry Shefflin, because I wanted as talented as Henry. "Psychologically he allowed me to be the person I am. He helped me with confidence issues that we spoke about in '06 or '07. To turn around in that '14 replay, like, I had a bad game that first day.
"I was down on myself after it. After talking to him I was back up, I couldn't wait to get back up for the second day. I was very honest and courageous with him and I trusted him. He was just massive for me. Testament to some of those performances, like, they were on the back of him.
"He challenged me to score a point in the All-Ireland, which I did, in '09, those sorts of things. He opened up my eyes and challenged me to be an awful lot better than I actually was. He brought me out of my shell completely."