Jackie Tyrell admits he thinks about the All-Irelands lost more than the ones in the cabinet

The seasoned defender could be looking at a milestone in his career this season

Jackie Tyrell admits he thinks about the All-Irelands lost more than the ones in the cabinet

©INPHO/James Crombie

Winning All-Irelands has become something of an annual custom in Kilkenny, which is why the few occasions that end in defeat, tend to linger more so than the victories.

Retired Kilkenny great Henry Shefflin retired from the inter-county stage with 10 celtic crosses on his account and this year, fellow veteran Jackie Tyrell is facing a similar historical milestone.

And Tyrell shares a similar trait to Shefflin in that his starting place is far from assured due to outstanding injuries from last season. Ultimately though, Tyrell is looking forward to the new challenge. 

''It is a different challenge really; it’s really the basics and getting back there. I know I have an awful lot of work to do. I had a very inactive off-season last year so my fitness levels probably aren’t where they normally would be. But I’ve been working extremely hard the last while and I think that they’ll come pretty quickly. I’m not looking too far ahead of that.''

The old sporting adage dictates that winning is a habit and just like anything else, a stinging itch ensues when the routine is disturbed.

Kilkenny last confronted that discomfort in 2010 when rivals Tipperary captured the Liam McCarthy from their grasp and simultaneously sent the five-in-a-row dream into the furnace.

The days of victory far outweigh the defeats in Kilkenny, but for Tyrell, the pain of defeat in 2010 comes to mind quicker than the memories of winning.

''It’s horrific, it really is. It’s terrible, it really is. It’s just a bad, bad place to be and you just want to get out of there as soon as possible. And I’ll remember that better than probably any of the ones I won which is terrible. It’s terrible to think that but I do. I still remember 2010 and the ones we lost, it’s heartbreaking.''

''For me the worst part of 2010 was, there was so many days, September and October, when I’d be driving along in the car maybe of a Wednesday or that. You’d be going down the motorway and you feel like pulling in and crying for half an hour.''

“I remember talking to Tommy (Walsh) about it and he said he used to be like that. You just want to play it again and it’s gone, you just can’t wait for the year to start again.”

''You just have that emptiness inside you that’s burning a hole in your soul.''