There were victories in 1989 and ’94. And in 1997, Brian Collins was just 22 when he should have captained the side to that glorious third title against Fethard. However, the day was tinged with regret as he was sidelined with a cruciate injury.
In 2003, they won the county again, but for Collins there was more heartbreak as the cruciate curse struck again, meaning he was in a tracksuit for the year. This time he’s a selector and hoping to finally make it number four for the Union Hall/Glandore club.
“It was very difficult to miss out on those games, alright. I did my two cruciates and I was only coming back from the second one the time we played An Ghaeltacht in the 2003 Munster semi-final. It’s been a crazy six weeks down here now, and last week was our first week off since the county win over Duhallow.
“It’s great to have a break too. We met last Saturday, trained last Tuesday and we met last night but that’s been it, really. The lads are refreshed and looking forward to Sunday.”
Indeed, that 2003 sojourn into Munster ended in a seven-point defeat to a team of household names, the aristocrats in Kerry and indeed one of the best club teams of the last decade.
Hardly surprising given surnames likes Ó Sé, Mac Gearailt and Ó Cinnéide playing for An Ghaeltacht.
“We went down to Killarney that time more in hope than expectation really. We didn’t really click on the day, maybe we took our eye off the ball after winning the county. We weren’t expected to do much after winning that to be honest and maybe we rested on our laurels a bit.
“But An Ghaeltacht were very good, we’d chances to win the game alright but they were probably a bit stronger on the day.”
Sounds exactly like what they’re up against this Sunday.
“Ah sure, Crokes need no introduction. They’re all household names — like the An Ghaeltacht team — but we’ll give it a right lash. We’re delighted to get this far, our plan at the start of the year was to win a county and that was it, we never thought about Munster but now that we’re here, we’ll be going all out for it.
“We know people aren’t giving us a chance but we like it that way.
“People might think it’s all about Gooch Cooper but they’ve six forwards there who are all inter-county players and Eoin Brosnan as well in defence.
“Cooper is only one man, you’ve Daithi Casey, Brian Looney and Kieran O’Leary there as well, any one of them could win a game for you. You can’t man-mark them all! We’ll hope to do the best we can with them and hopefully our forwards can do some damage at the other end.”