The Tipperary defender was awarded an All-Star for his performances this season
Cathal Barrett admits that he's already looking forward to getting back into competitive mode for the Tipperary hurlers after capturing the Liam McCarthy Cup two months ago.
Tipperary produced a towering display against Kilkenny in the 2016 decider to emerge the undisputed winners by a nine point margin, securing their first All-Ireland title since 2010.
Barrett, who is currently nursing an ankle ligament injury, was one of seven Tipperary players to be subsequently awarded All-Stars for their performances en route to Croke Park and the defender says that winning his first All-Ireland has been an incredible experience.
Speaking in Croke Park on Tuesday, Barrett said:
"It was my first so it was a bit special for me. The pictures said it all, there was over 34 or 35,000 people in the stadium, the place was buzzing for weeks, still is. Everyone is still talking about the All-Ireland, it's fantastic for Tipp. We'd been close enough, a point or two on a couple of occasions and they're hard to take. When you finally get over the line it's a sense of relief at the final whistle.
"The following few weeks after it are great, go to meet your family and friends and have a bit of craic and the homecomings. We went back to Borris-Ileigh for Brendan (Maher) and Paddy (Stapleton) and Dan (McCormack) and that was fantastic, a massive crowd and everyone got to mingle away so it was a great few weeks."
Cathal Barrett gearing up for the Munster championship quarter-final.
Barrett, however, admits that he's getting the urge to get back on the pitch and retain Tipperary's success in 2017. And with no club action to keep him occupied in the interim, the desire to resume competitive hurling is all the more heightened for him.
"After winning an All-Ireland you'd think you'd be happy enough to have a break but after a couple of weeks, nearly a month, you'd be hungry enough to go again. You want to keep that winning feeling if you get me. It's no harm really, even for the mental side of things, just let the body rest, not to be draining yourself because you'd be wrecked. It does take its toll, it's a long year, October or November through to the following September so you'd need your rest after it."
Barrett also cautioned against any temptation to write Kilkenny's obituary and recalls the naivety in 2010 which led the public to prematurely predict Kilkenny's downfall after losing an All-Ireland.
Cathal Barrett celebrates winning the Munster final
"I wouldn’t say that at all, to be honest. You hear one or two people saying Kilkenny are finished, but if you remember 2010, I remember hearing that Kilkenny were on the way down and they’ve won three All-Ireland since then. So I don’t think you could ever write them off. In my opinion, Kilkenny are still the benchmark. Next year, they’re still the team to watch out for."
He added: "They’re after winning how many All-Irelands in the last 10 years? They’re still an unbelievable team. Just because they lost one All-Ireland doesn’t make them a bad team over night. It doesn’t mean they’re on the way down. But obviously, it does give us a bit of an incentive to maybe push on and get a few more All-Irelands."
Cathal Barrett was speaking at the launch of the GRMA (Go Raibh Maith Agat) card at Croke Park. All members of the GAA are eligible to apply for this card which gives them access to exclusive discounts, special offers and the opportunity to earn points for going to games. All applications can be made through the GAA website.