Bord Gais Energy Munster U21 HC final
Clare v Cork
Tomorrow: Cusach Park Ennis, 7.15pm
Clare hurler Colm Galvin has backed manager Davy Fitzgerald to revitalise the county for the 2015 championship.
The reigning All-Ireland champions failed to win a game in their unsuccessful defence of the Liam MacCarthy Cup, losing to Cork in the Munster semi-final before slipping through the exit door at the hands of Wexford. Galvin believes Fitzgerald remains best placed to oversee the Clare set-up, claiming the manager still possesses an abundance of “tricks” capable of returning the Banner men to hurling’s summit.
“He has [a few more years] and you can’t go past his record so far. He’s done what he’s done — an unbelievable achievement and the man has a bag full of tricks,” insisted Galvin.
“Things didn’t go right for us this year but there’s still a lot of tricks in that bag. Hopefully he will take us forward.”
With Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary occupying three of the four semi-final berths, the hurling revolution instigated by Clare last summer appears to have been short-lived.
Wexford’s return to form was ruthlessly halted on Sunday afternoon, with Dublin tamely limping out. Galvin, however, doesn’t believe the old guard are poised to re-establish their dominance of old.
“I wouldn’t say that [the hurling revolution is over]. The average age of the Clare team is 23. This break might do us good, who knows? All you can do is your best on the day and that is what we will continue to do.
“For sure, if Davy is back there again next year he will have everything done down to a tee like he has done for the past three years. We will go back to the drawing board and see what we come up with.
“I don’t think it is back to the old guard dominating. Galway were good enough this year — things didn’t go right for them the last day. Everybody has a chance when it comes into the quarter-finals. Things didn’t go right for Dublin either but certainly Kilkenny will take a lot of beating this year. They’re back up to where they were three or four years ago.
“They’re the benchmark — everyone knows that. It will be a very interesting last four. I would give Tipperary an outside bet, but if it was my last €50, I’d say Kilkenny.”
Senior matters, as far as Galvin is concerned, have been put on the back burner until later in the year. Presently, his focus is tomorrow’s Munster U21 decider, an opportunity to achieve the three-in-a-row of provincial titles.
Irrespective of their senior failings this summer, Galvin maintains it is still a fantastic time to don the saffron and blue.
“There is a big fascination with Clare’s young fellas and it’s great to see people walking around with the Clare jersey.
“I was down in Limerick recently and I saw three or four girls wearing Clare jerseys. That would never happen going back three or four years. You’d hardly see it in Ennis and now you see it in other counties, it’s great. That has been because of the success underage, with Shane O’Donnell getting the goals, Podge Collins doing what he’s doing and Tony Kelly doing what he’s doing.”
He added: “Things didn’t go right against Cork or Wexford in the senior. At the end of the day when that was over our minds were straight back on the U21. We didn’t have a choice. We were back training two days later and had a match [semi-final against Tipperary] two days after that. You couldn’t mope around feeling sorry for yourself. There was no time for that.
“It was a great thing to be able to flush it out of your system. To be able to go out and redeem yourself was very important. You would feel sorry for the lads who don’t have that opportunity. There is one more bite of the cherry for us. Every Munster final you go out to play — it’s my fifth in five years — I’m really looking forward to it. It’s my last year U21 so I’m hoping everything will go right. It’s great to have it at home.
“Cork are on a roll at the moment with the seniors and they’ll be looking to try and get the title. I came on to the underage scene when I was just after turning 17 in 2010. Since 2010 things started going right.
“Thanks be to God we’ve won what we’ve won and it’s been great.”
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