LIMERICK hurler Kyle Hayes believes his side’s loss in the All-Ireland semi-final will give the Treaty “that extra bit of bite”, as he gears up for winter training with his county.
The Shannonsiders one-point loss to Kilkenny in July was a tough pill for Limerick’s young squad to swallow, but Hayes says that the defeat will only prove beneficial for them in next year’s championship.
“At the time it was difficult, but you learn a lot more when you lose. You never want to fall short, but we’ll take positives from it and learn from it. It will definitely add an extra bit of bite into our game going into next year,” the 21-year-old said at the opening of Maguire’s Field at the University of Limerick this week.
“Looking ahead to the new season, I personally want to get that starting spot in the team, and as a group we want to get back to winning ways in any competition. Long term is obviously the All-Ireland, but that’s a long way off so we’ll take it game-by-game and go from there.
“We’re all excited to get back together as a group now. We have a very close squad and we always have good craic. It makes training a lot easier when you’re basically just getting together with the lads, so that only helps the team’s performance.
“It’s coming to the latter stages of clubs at the moment, after that we’ll take a break and then drive on with the county,” Hayes pointed out.
Hayes, who was named Man of the Match in Limerick’s 2018 All-Ireland final victory, will also be looking to reclaim the Fitzgibbon cup with University of Limerick next year having missed the university’s 2018 success in the competition through injury.
The college have just launched their new €7m sports facilities on campus, and the Kildimo-Pallaskenry man is optimistic that UL’s combination of talent and state-of-the-art facilities will bring success.
“I’ve missed the last two years of Fitzgibbon, so touch wood I won’t get injured and I’ll get out on the field this year. We’re one hundred percent capable this year to win back the cup. It’s a very tough competition but we have a very decent team so I’m looking forward to it.
“Our whole campus here is top class, then you come down to Maguire’s Field and it’s even a step above. Obviously, you have the astroturf pitches, but the grass pitch is beautiful as well.
“In the winter, this will benefit our teams massively. Training on the field during dark nights with mucky pitches can be difficult, so the floodlights and the great condition of the pitches will help us hugely,” Hayes believes.
Last year’s Young Hurler of the Year also thinks the new development will make UL, and Limerick as a consequence, even more of an attractive destination for aspiring athletes.
“The new facilities will also definitely attract more players coming to UL in the future. Any person that has an interest in playing third-level sport will look into the facilities in each college, and we have the best facilities in Ireland so that’ll be a big bonus to players coming in.”