The draw hasn’t been kind to Kilmurry Ibrickane. Time and again, Crokes. “It’s unfortunate,” says Aidan Moloney.
On their last three sojourns into Munster, the West Clare footballers have been pitted against the Killarney men.
Same again in 2017. A fourth consecutive meeting with the Lewis Road footballers. A bit like Clare being put on Kerry’s side of the Munster SFC draw in 2014, ‘16, ‘17 and again next year, it’s as if they can’t escape them.
Kilmurry Ibrickane manager Moloney, who won a Munster club medal at the end of his career in 2004, says his team has no issue locking horns with the All-Ireland club champions.
Rather understandably, though, he’d prefer if they had a provincial win under their belt before standing opposite the outstanding club team in the country at present.
Last year’s quarter-final fixture at Quilty was one to forget, the visitors scoring a handy 1-14 to 0-8 win. Moloney’s charges will instead look to 2011 and 2012, November afternoons where they more than frightened the Kerry champions.
In 2011, Crokes, at home, won through to the decider on a scoreline of 0-12 to 0-9. A year later, they just about held on for a 2-8 to 0-13 victory, despite being eight to the good with 20 minutes remaining.
Of the players to see game-time during the recent county final triumph over Clondegad, the club’s sixth in the past 10 years, 10 featured against Crokes five and six years ago.
“Last year, we didn’t do ourselves justice. There was only one week between the county final and the game against Crokes. We hadn’t won a county in four years and lads celebrated it well because some thought it might be their last. We never got to the pitch of the game. The focus is much, much better on this occasion.
“2011 and 2012 showed us we can compete against Crokes. We had a realistic chance of winning on both days and we were disappointed we didn’t.”
Almost more pertinent than the survivors from those close-run affairs is that six of the present side - Michael and Peter O’Dwyer, Shane Hickey, Michael Hogan, Evan Talty and Enda Coughlan - have two Munster club medals in their back pockets from 2004 and ‘09. Experience, they’re certainly not lacking in.
“Some of the lads have eight county medals, that’s a fair haul. There’s a good store of experience. These lads are in good shape, they’re a credit to themselves. Enda Coughlan finished inter-county football last year. He’s still in great form.
Peter O’Dwyer is 38. They have a lot of football played, but they absolutely have a lot of football left.
“Clare clubs that go into Munster without experience don’t last very long. You certainly couldn’t say we want for experience. We don’t fear going into Munster.”
Moloney, a Munster medal winner with Clare in ‘92, captained the Kilmurry Ibrickane team which reached the provincial club decider a year later.
Nemo beat them handily, but Moloney believes the West Clare club regularly “punch above their weight” when representing the county.
“We’re not a very big club or anything like that. We’re a fairly averaged-sized West Clare club.
“Miltown or Kilrush would be bigger. There are three primary schools in the parish. We visited them with the county cup the week before last and one has only 20 pupils. We’re not a Nemo or Dr Crokes in terms of size, but we’ve done well. Like, two Munster club titles in the last decade was good going. I was in my early forties for the 2004 win over Stradbally and even though I was seeing bits of game-time here and there, it was a fantastic time.
“The lads involved there and again in 2009 when the club beat Kerins O’Rahilly’s would love a third medal.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved