Getting to play at Croke Park is far more important than any potential amount of prize money, according to Tommy Walsh.
The Tullaroan hurler was speaking to Off The Ball and discussed the significance of winning the Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship with his team.
“I would have absolutely been delighted with my Tullaroan career if we hadn’t ever had won it.
“[I was] mad to win it and all that but I just had so many great years with the club since the minute I started in 3rd class, I suppose.
“But I think the last three months have been the highlight of my sporting life. Without a shadow of a doubt,” Walsh said.
Many Tullaroan fans were allowed onto the pitch after the game and Walsh gave praise to the Croke Park staff for allowing those supporters to make memories on the hallowed turf.
“In fairness to Croke Park with the family coming out onto the field - not one of the stewards stopped any of the young fellas coming out onto the field. Any young fella that we wanted to bring out onto the field - no hassle at all.
“We brought them out got plenty of photos with their Mams and Dads and pretended to hit a few balls over the bar. We just kind of mucked around. They’ll never forget that.
“There are so many photos with the Croke Park stand in the background as well. It’s just historic. You can talk about money all you like but it’s about dreams.
“I think it was Sean Kelly was the [GAA] President at the time - that idea of putting the junior finals, intermediate finals and senior finals up in Croke Park - that is more than offering any type of money to any winner.
“That’s what lads dream of no matter what, you say from four or five years of age, they dream of playing up in that place. That probably never stops until you finish,” Walsh commented,
The former Kilkenny hurler also spoke at length about how Tullaroan’s triumph goes far beyond those who played in the final and paid tribute to club stalwart Joe Norton.
“We’d Joe Norton… who was on the 1988 intermediate winning team - that was the guy who lifted the cup with Shane [Walsh]. That wasn’t just a token one either.
“I did the drills with him the night before the county final. The pitch wasn’t in pristine condition because we were training hard on it. His touch was incredible.
“That gave me a lift and he scored a point in a junior match against Carrickshock this year from midfield. He got to run out in Croke Park and hit balls over the bar before it.
“So the GAA, we have to take our hats off to them. I know we criticised them but let’s also give them the credit they deserve.
“That Croke Park dream for junior, intermediate and seniors is the greatest idea anyone ever came up with,” Walsh commented.