That famous win over Kerry in ’92, as you’d expect, has been referenced on more than one occasion in the Clare minor camp these past few weeks.
But instead of attempting to draw motivation from Clare’s last notable scalp of the Kingdom, it has become something of a joke within the group.
Clare minor manager Seamus Clancy was corner-back on the afternoon of July 19, 1992, when John Maughan’s charges stunned the Munster final favourites. The Corofin man played a lead role. His reward for such was to be the first - and only - Banner footballer to receive an All Star.
Talk of ’92 in the build up to the county’s first Munster minor final appearance in 23 years has been fairly light-hearted.
“There is a big joke that we got a great 25 years out of that victory, so we are wondering if these fellas win on Sunday, how long are they going to get out of it,” says Clancy.
Well, such is the overwhelming favourite tag worn by Kerry that if Clare do upset the form book, it’s safe to assume that it’ll still be mentioned in 2042. Here’s why: the Kingdom haven’t been beaten at this grade since August of 2013.
From last year’s all-conquering team, Michael Potts, Diarmuid O’Connor, Brian Friel and David Clifford remain. The latter helped himself to 2-8 during the semi-final win over Cork. What also can’t be ignored is the 2-16 to 1-6 scoreline when these two counties met in Tralee in early April.
“That game was over after 10 minutes,” Clancy remarks. “Obviously, we have to be in the game for longer than 10 minutes on Sunday.” Cork didn’t bother with a seventh defender at Páirc Uí Rinn during the semi-final. They paid dearly. Will Clare be as naïve?
“We’ll have to look at sweepers to stay in the game early on. That is the way most teams are going to face Kerry. But if you play sweepers, are you going to win a game or are you just going to keep the score down?
“We’ve an awful lot of work put into these lads and all the work didn’t go in just to show up on Sunday. Our goal is to be better than we were the last day, to stay in the game for as long as we can.” Irrespective of how the result fares tomorrow, Clare have a first All-Ireland quarter-final appearance to look forward to. The minimum number of games they’ll play in 2017 is six. That’s a far cry from the two championship games played last year and the three in 2015.
“I’m with this group three years, going back to U16. This group gelled together very quickly. They’ve given massive commitment...
If Kerry are better than us, they’re better than us. But you do have control over how hard you fight and how long you fight.”
Kerry (MFC v Clare):
D Uosis (Dingle); S O’Leary (Kilcummin), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), C Gammell (Legion); M Potts (Dr Crokes), E Horan (Scartaglen), N Donohue (Firies); B Mahony (St Senan’s), D O’Connor (Na Gaeil); A Donoghue (Castleisland Desmonds), D Clifford (Fossa), D O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan); F Clifford (Laune Rangers), D O’Sullivan (Firies), B Friel (Rathmore).
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