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John Mullane and Paul Flynn. It was a team that many believe were “the best team never to win an All-Ireland” a title that Dan says is not nice to live with. “They were outstanding players and we are

all still great mates, when I meet the lads we can have a chat about the good years we had together and the craic we had together but to be looked at as the best team never to win an All-Ireland is not a nice feeling to be honest. We won Munster titles and league titles but we never went all the way. Having said that it wasn’t for the want of trying and we met some brilliant teams from Kilkenny and Cork, so when you can say that you gave it 110% and you were beaten by a better team you can’t ask for more.”

The day I meet him Dan is off to a training session with the county team in the grounds of his old club Lismore. He is Lismore through and through, as is his younger brother Maurice. Born in 1977 Dan grew up with hurling in his blood as his father was a former Waterford player.

“But they are an unbelievable bunch of lads and the effort they are after putting in is incredible. I admire ever one of them. Their skill level is incredible...”

“Childhood was different to what it is now,

there were no iPhones back in my day, you had a hurley and sliother or a football and you were outdoors. Did I love it? Damn right I did. I loved getting out in the open. School wasn’t a big thing for me, not that I wasn’t well educated or anything I just didn’t have any interest and I didn’t put in the effort, my effort went into hurling. There is great community in Lismore. People would have called us the protestant village but I am very proud of where I grew up. I spent 8 years in the glass factory in

Dungarvan and it was a big loss to the town when it closed but thank God other companies came into the town like GSK. People support each other here, they shop local which is very important. You can see in the county that we are starting to believe in ourselves again which

Dan and his brother Maurice.

is great.” His younger brother Maurice is coming back

from injury and is hoping to play a pivotal role in the Munster Final come the 10th of July. He has struggled with mental health issues in the past which he has spoken very openly about. “It’s been a rough time for Maurice so it

has” says the big brother, “it has been well documented but he takes each day as it comes. We all know, his family knows that Maurice has good friends in Lismore and on the team aswell. We are a very tight unit. If Maurice, or any player, is suffering they can always make a phone call to each other coz they are good lads.” Now the focus is on beating Tipperary, who themselves disposed of Limerick in the semi-final, despite being down a man for a large portion of the game. Dan says they have been training hard but in the weeks leading up to the game the focus will be more on preparing mentally for the clash. As part of the management team now he is responsible for making decisions that he would have found hard to deal with as a player. With so many good younger hurlers coming up through the ranks, like young DJ Foran who played out of his skin for the intermediates the last day, Dan says the management now find themselves in the position of having to make tough decisions. “DJ was on the senior side last year and he decided to take himself off the panel and he went to America. We didn’t know the situation this year so we picked our panel based on lads that we knew were going to be around for the summer. He is doing really

well for the intermediates and I am delighted for him because he is a good young fella and he has fantastic talent. Who knows he may be starting next year. But there are lots of good young players. There are a lot of fellas who are going well for the intermediates and the U-21’s that we haven’t looked at but it is a fantastic position for us to be in. The hardest thing for us as management is to pick the first 15 and the next hardest is to pick the panel. In my personal opinion I don’t agree with it, I think if you have 30 fellas there you should be able to pick them. It is hard to leave fellas out. I feel for fellas that don’t make the match day programme. But they are the decisions that we have to make in management. “Being a player you go to training and you

train as hard as you can and then you go home. It’s a lot tougher now, we are there an hour before training to set up and we are there an hour after training chatting about form and who is going well or planning the next training session so it is very time consuming. But I love it and I love where I come from and I enjoy working with the lads I work with. I have known Derek (McGrath) since we played minor when we were young fellas. So when he came to me about this job and he told me what his intentions were I knew I couldn’t leave the opportunity pass me by. He is so professional and people do not see the work that he puts in. I feel sorry for his wife Sarah sometimes!! Derek is non stop on the phone organising things for the lads, getting them jobs for the summer and things like that that other people don’t see. That’s what he is about.”

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