On the night of Cratloe’s maiden county football final win last November, the Collins family marked the victory with a pot of tea at the kitchen table.
A Munster semi-final date the following afternoon prevented the painting of the village red; dinner, cryotherapy and a light pool session the height of their celebrations.
It was a similar story on Sunday evening, not a single dual player cutting loose in the wake of Cratloe’s second county hurling title. The comprehensive dismissal of Crusheen represented part one of their double bid, part two arriving this Sunday against Éire Óg.
“Pool and a bit of dinner, that’ll be it. There will be very little celebrating done,” said Sean Collins, corner-forward on the winning team.
“Knowing the lads we have, we will want to keep the celebrations low key. We will focus on rest and recovery. It is a huge week for us, trying to dosomething that hasn’t been done in 85 years. Football is of the same importance as hurling in this club. We are looking forward to next weekend. Gaelic games is everything to this group of players. It is our lives really, it is all we want to do. We want Cratloe to stay at the top.”
Collins lined out at left half-forward against Crusheen and by the time referee Seanie McMahon broughtproceedings to a halt shortly after 5pm, all three Collins brothers had etched their names onto the scoresheet — Podge and substitute Davidcontributing a point apiece.
“I was delighted when David came on and got a point,” said Sean.
“He was away there for the summer. He was disappointed he wasn’t starting because he was pushing for a starting place before he left for the summer. It is a brilliant day for the family. To have the three of us on the field at the end is super.”
He added: “It is just relief after 2010 and 2012.
“We had some awful bad days here, so it is just great to have the joy. In 2012, against Newmarket, we didn’t show up. We didn’t perform. We talked about it during a meeting on Saturday night that if we lost three in a row, we would be questioning ourselves. In fairness, the lads stood up today and played to their potential.
“Conor McGrath has been leading us all year, he has been unreal. To have a player of his quality is great, he tacked on a couple of points there at the end to make it comfortable for us.”
McGrath clipped on six points in total over the hour, embracing his father, Joe, at the final whistle.
“It is very special to have Joe involved as manager. It is a great day for the family. He had a couple of tough defeats in the last couple of years so it is great for him and us to finally get over the line in the end,” reflected the corner-forward.
“The win here is crucial for next weekend. It would have been verydifficult to get back up on the horse had we lost.
“Whichever final fell first, it was crucial we got the win. It doesn’t make next weekend easier, but it certainly is nice to have the momentum. It is a very big opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved