Cratloe 2-12 Éire Óg 0-11
It says a fair bit about the class of the man that Podge Collins put Cratloe’s already delayed celebrations on hold after yesterday’s Clare SFC final win to race into the back of the tunnel and shake hands with every one of the defeated Éire Óg team as they returned to their dressing room.
Collins will line out with many of them with the Clare footballers next season and while that is likely to be his only inter-county activity next year he, and most of his team-mates, now have two Munster club championships to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.
He has achieved an awful lot in both codes in the past few seasons but yesterday was special, Cratloe becoming the first side in 100 years to complete the double in the Banner.
And with his father Colm, who guided Cratloe to their first football crown a year ago before taking over the county side, again at the helm and two brothers on board, this was very much a family affair.
But to Podge Collins all the club is family and completing the double yesterday was right up there with anything he has done.
“There is nothing like winning with the club in my opinion and to win a double and create history for our own little parish in Cratloe is the best feeling in the world and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
“We have a dedicated group of lads and all they want to do is be successful. The hurling was done and we knew if we lost today it wouldn’t mean as much so we made sure we went out and did the business and now we can enjoy the two of them.”
And enjoy them they should. Concerns that they would struggle to regroup just a week after beating Crusheen in the hurling decider proved well wide of the mark and they had this one wrapped up after less than 15 minutes, playing against the wind.
Podge Collins tormented the Éire Óg defence and he created the first goal and scored the second with outlandish bits of skill.
He was poised to tap over a free after eight minutes when another All-Ireland hurling medal winner Conor McGrath slipped his man and Collins found him with a perfect pass before the All Star slotted home.
Another who tasted glory in Croke Park created the second goal, Cathal McInerney finding Podge Collins with a good pass and he turned two defenders before neatly finishing.
“The two early goals probably killed the game as they found it hard to get up the field in the second half and get scores but we are just delighted that we did enough,” added Podge Collins.
“It is an amazing achievement for a small little parish. We will have a day or two or celebrations and we will then turn our attentions to the two Munster club championships.”
Éire Óg rallied well, with midfielders Darren O’Neill and Sean Corry getting an edge. Davy O’Halloran kicked a couple of good points and Stephen Hickey also found the range in addition to three from free-taker Sean O’Meara.
But the reigning champions finished the half strongly and Liam Markham’s second point left them 2-6 to 0-8 at the break.
Limerick footballer John Galvin, a recent addition to the Cratloe ranks where he has lived for four years, extended the lead after the restart and there was no way back for Éire Óg as Cratloe set about celebrating two senior titles in the space of eight days.
But before any celebrations, due respect was shown to their opponents by a club which matches its class on the field with what it does off it.
Scorers for Cratloe: P Collins 1-4, C McGrath 1-1, C McInerney 0-4 (3f), L Markham 0-2, J Galvin 0-1.
Scorers for Éire Óg: S O’Meara 0-4 (4f), D O’Halloran 0-2, S Daniels, S Hickey, D O’Neill, E Courtney (f), C Brennan 0-1 each.
CRATLOE: P DeLoughrey; S Chaplin, B Duggan, M Hawes; E Boyce, L Markham, M Oige Murphy; C Duggan, F Lynch; S Collins, P Collins, C Ryan; C McInerney, J Galvin, C McGrath.
Subs: S O’Leary for Murphy (53), D Collins for McInerney (56), D Ryan for Boyce (56), S Hynan for S Collins (56), W DeLoughrey for Lynch (56).
ÉIRE ÓG: C Smyth; S Butler, A Fitzgerald, L Corry; C Russell, S Daniels, D Ryan; D O’Neill, S Corry; S O’Meara, D O’Halloran, S Hickey; E Courtney, G Glynn, E Glynn.
Subs: C Brennan for L Corry (19), J Woods for Butler (30), D Reidy for Glynn (37) D Walsh for Hickey (46), P O’Malley for O’Meara (53), D Russell for Daniels (60).
Referee: P Cosgrove.
Éire Óg might have come back from conceding the opening goal after eight minutes but there was only going to be one winner when Podge Collins hit the net seven minutes later.
Talk of the town
How long can Cratloe keep going on two fronts? They have mixed it superbly up to now but heavier pitches could take a toll between now and Christmas.
Did that just happen?
Most free-takers around the country would have been content to tap over a close-range free eight minutes into a county final, but Podge Collins picked out Conor McGrath lurking and Clare’s only hurling All-Star nominee did the rest.
Best on show
Podge Collins was a bundle of energy from start to finish and tormented the Éire Óg defence throughout, kicking 1-4 from play and having a hand in many other scores.
Cratloe worked the ball patiently, playing low ball into a fast attack while they crowded midfield when Éire Óg got on top in that sector.
The man in black
Éire Óg will feel a lot of the 50-50 calls went against them but Pat Cosgrove was up with the play through.
The Cratloe footballers won’t be in action until November 26 in the Munster club semi-final but more important will be the clash with Waterford champions Ballygunner the weekend after next in the Munster hurling quarter-final.
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