KILMURRY IBRICKANE coach Micheál McDermott is relishing the challenge of Kerins O’Rahillys in tomorrow’s AIB Munster Club SFC final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Having failed by a point in last year’s final to Drom Broadford, the Cavan native sees tomorrow’s final as the perfect opportunity to make amends, and in the process clip the wings of what he considers one of the great Kerry club teams.
In the two years he has been in charge, Kilmurry have lost only two games, that 2008 Munster Club final and this year’s Cusack Cup decider.
He has also steered the club to back-to-back county titles, something that had not gone unnoticed by the Clare football authorities, who appointed him county manager for 2010.
Whether Kilmurry are successful tomorrow or not, he is reluctant to give up the club job. He explained: “I’ve just started up with Clare last Saturday holding a series of trial games, and there is a certain amount of juggling going on between the club and the county.”
Asked if Kilmurry should reach the All-Ireland Club final next March with the National League going on, McDermott said: “it would be a headache I would gladly put up with.”
The Cavan man spent 10 years coaching the Clare junior team and two years with the U21s before joining John O’Keeffe with the seniors, and was on the sideline for their sensational victory over Cork in the Munster semi-final in Cusack Park in 1997.
“That was one of the great days for Clare football, but unfortunately we could not build on it, and we have slipped back somewhat. There is plenty of enthusiasm for the game within the county and a Kilmurry victory on Sunday would be the perfect platform for me going forward.”
McDermott didn’t hesitate when approached by the west Clare outfit last year.
“I was asked to take over the Kilmurry job early in 2008 and given the excellent under age talent they have coming through, I agreed to give it a go for a year.
“It was the first time they went outside the club for a coach. You are always a bit concerned when you join a new club and what way people will react to you.
“Thankfully things have gone extremely well and winning two county titles in a row has whetted the appetite for more.
“Many of our team have been through a Munster final before, and know what is required. This week I detected a massive hunger and desire about them which has made me feel good going coming home from training.”
Standing in their way of another provincial crown are one of Kerry’s marquee clubs.
“Kerins O’Rahillys are seasoned campaigners too with a number of excellent players, and we’ll have to be at our very best to beat them.
“There is talk that David Moran is back for the game, and if that is the case then it will make them all the harder to beat. We have planned for every eventuality.”
The Clare champions have accounted for the Limerick and Waterford counterparts en route to tomorrow’s decider.
But their manager is confident that they have plenty in the tank after a long gruelling system.
“Since winning the county title, the team has come on by leaps and bounds. They have played very well in the Munster campaign and I feel there is one big performance in them. We will need that big performance on Sunday if we are to win, and there is no guarantee of success even if we play to our potential.
“One of the big pluses we have going for us is that all the players are accustomed to winning. Five U21 county titles in a row has given us an excellent crop of players who know what is needed to be successful, and hopefully they can bring that winning mentality to Sunday’s final.
“I know from my own experience that there are no guarantees in this game, and I’ve have been impressing on the players in the lead up to this final, to make the most of the opportunity as they may never get back to a Munster final again. If ever a team deserves a Munster title then this one does.
“They have put in a massive effort all season in all sorts of weather, and it would be the perfect Christmas present for themselves and the people of Quilty if we could pull off the win”.
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