The shift of power within Louth hurling in recent years from Knockbridge to Pearse Óg has, no doubt, been pondered by Knockbridge and Louth star Conor Kerrigan more than most.
As a man born and bred into everything to do with hurling, he had little chance of doing anything else.
His father, Aidan, a school teacher, came from a hurling county stronghold with a fierce passion to grow the game in this county. Out in Knockbridge, Kerrigan senior and junior have been involved with the village’s county title successes over the years.
Things have dried up on that front recently though as Pearse Óg have dominated for the past two years. But it’s not through a lack of effort though. Still, Kerrigan Jnr struggles to understand the switch in power.
“It can be hard to put a finger on exactly how we lost out in recent years,” muses Kerrigan. “But Pearse Óg won fair and square on the day (last year) so we were just not good enough in both finals.
“They are clear favourites to win it again this year as last year’s county champions and also they beat us in the round robin last week. Tony Teffy and Adrian Cummins have put in a lot of hours on the training pitch to try to get us both physically and mentally right on the day,” adds the Knockbridge defender.
For all that perspiration and graft on the training pitch, it all comes down to what you do on the day and how much you want it. Kerrigan nods affirmatively.
“I suppose while some individuals played well over the last two years, the collective performance has not been there when it mattered in the final. This is something we have worked hard on this year in training and you can just hope that it does work out on the day for us. Hard work, determination and a sheer will to win is what gets you county titles at the end of the day and if we can get that right on the day we are always in with a chance.”
With Pearse Óg in the ascendancy, would Knockbridge, to coin that old Alex Ferguson quote, like to ‘knock them off their perch’ and stop a three-in-a-row?
“It wouldn’t have been something that we would have spoken about at all,” admits Kerrigan. “That is their business and goal for the year I am sure. To be honest, what we want to achieve first and foremost in the final is the strong team peformance we know we are capable of, that is something that went missing in both the 2012 and 2013 finals after showing great promise in the earlier rounds.”
The years are catching up on him, but Kerrigan will hear nothing of slipping off quietly into the night.
“I was on this Knockbridge team when I was 16 and then I played championship hurling the year after in 2001 so I will stay going as long as the body is fit. Your only have to look at our team captain this year David Dunne for inspiration. Still performing week in week out after all the service he has given to both club and county.”
Hard to disagree with him there.