Sunday 26 May 2019

Hannon: Criticism was hard for my family

declan hannon
declan hannon

"There's been times there," says Declan Hannon, inhaling deeply as though to conjure his darkest memories, "where you'd be saying 'Jesus is this ever going to happen? Will we ever get a break'."

Now, he's Limerick's All-Ireland winning captain but in 2013, he was the man who missed all the frees against Clare in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final.

Five weeks previous to that, he was hoisted shoulder-high by his own people as one of the Limerick team who had beaten Cork in a Munster final, the county's first provincial success in 17 years.

But the Clare defeat, and his role in it, still lingers in Hannon's psyche.

"The aftermath of it was quite tough and you were getting a bit of flak from left, right and centre and it was hard for your family to be listening to it and seeing it," he recalls now.

"Sure it got bad enough getting messages off random people and letters and things like that.

"I thought from listening to it that I was after costing Limerick an All-Ireland and it was your fault like.

"It was hard, I've only been able to speak about that...I always thought that if I could contribute positively to a Limerick team winning an All-Ireland I can eventually park that and put it away and that's only happened this year so I was kind of carrying that for a while.


"We'd Caroline Currid involved with us this year and she was brilliant, she was brilliant to talk to about everything and anything.

"For me," Hannon adds, "that was something I always went out onto the field with in the back of my mind.

"I remember we had club championship two weeks after it, and I didn't want to go out onto the field at all.

"I was embarrassed going out here after what happened two weeks previous, letting people down."

The thing is, Hannon says, he tried and trained no harder this year than he did in 2013.

Yet the varying outcomes have forced people to react to him in a completely different way.

"Everywhere I went, and they were kinda saying that was the man who had that game against Clare," he recalls.

"That was the last thing I wanted to be remember for.

"I used not want to talk about it, but now I am able to move on."

"I suppose he… he or she, it could have been a woman, was obviously a bit angry and wanted Limerick to win," he recalls of one particular letter.

"I wanted Limerick to win as well. I didn't go out there to upset people. I don't know, if I had my time back, I don't know, I would have just talked to somebody.

"It's the same for anything, if people are going through a lot of things the best thing to do is have a chat with your friend or something, get it off your chest. You'll feel a lot better about it."

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