Jason Forde insists he won’t be fazed by the prospect of making his full U-21 championship debut for Tipperary in a Munster final tonight.
Forde, 18, was unavailable for the quarter-final victory over Cork as he was tied up with Leaving Certificate commitments. But the Silvermines player, captain of the Tipp minors in 2011, came off the bench to score a point as a highly-rated Limerick team was put to the sword at the Gaelic Grounds in the semi-final.
Forde carried a slight injury into that game but is now fully fit and has been named at corner-forward ahead of Eanna Murray.
Revenge is on the minds of many Clare fans following the controversial 2008 provincial final in Ennis but Forde points out that this group of Tipperary players have plenty of motivation themselves.
In 2010 and 2011, Tipp were dumped out of the Munster MHC by Clare: “In my first year as a minor , we lost to Waterford in the Munster final and in the two years that followed, we were knocked out by Clare,” said Forde.
“A lot of the players playing tonight would have played against them [Clare] in those two years as minor. We know them well enough so we’ll be looking for our own revenge.”
Forde was the driving force behind the Nenagh CBS team that bounced back from a Harty Cup final defeat against Coláiste na nDéise to win the All-Ireland Colleges title earlier this year.
I’ve no Munster medal with Tipp at county level so I’ll be going gung-ho to bring home a medal with me from Ennis – and so will the rest of the lads. Most of those lads weren’t on the teams that were successful at U21 and are only mad for success as well.”
Meanwhile, Clare’s senior star Conor McGrath wants to end his U21 career as he started it. In 2009, McGrath was an impact sub as Clare stormed to Bord Gáis Energy Munster and All-Ireland U21 glory for the very first time.
“It would be a huge game to win for Clare in front of our home fans,” he said.
“I think it’s a good thing to have a lot of fans. We played Dublin recently in the senior championship and there was a great atmosphere. It always helps you to get over the line near the end.”
Even for the last Clare-Tipp Munster final  there was a great atmosphere there.”
The desire to atone for that heartbreaking defeat four years ago may burn bright within the hearts and minds of Clare supporters but McGrath insists that it won’t have a major bearing on tonight’s game.
“People around Clare would [think about it] but there’s nobody from Clare or Tipp still involved. I don’t think it will be a factor.”
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