Getting over Limerick was an enormous monkey off the back of the Clare Senior Hurlers as they made the All-Ireland quarter-finals for the first time in three years.
According to defender Patrick O’Connor their recent record had the panel under immense pressure heading into last weekend’s game. “The talk during the week was that we should have too much for Limerick but as I said Limerick and ourselves the rivalry goes back decades, goes back to when my father played and even before that so no team was ever going to run away with it and in that sense to come out on the right side of it is just brilliant.
“We’ve suffered our fair share of heartache in the last two years so just absolutely delighted, a fierce pressurised game, you’d love to say you’d go out and be able to throw off the shackles but the heartache we felt in the last two years meant that this was a massive game for us so delighted to get the win and be in the bowl for the All-Ireland quarter-final”.
He says the comeback from the men in the Treaty County was anticipated. “You could have predicted that from Limerick, they’re a fiercely passionate hurling county and they were never going to throw in the towel, maybe four points doesn’t show how dominant we were at spells, just delighted to get the win at the end of the day we were sitting at home this weekend for the last two years watching the championship unfold so just delighted to get the win, we’ve plenty to work on you saw out there it wasn’t a polished performance by any manner or means, the workrate was there, we saw plenty of turnovers and solid endeavour so delighted with that side of it but plenty of work to do”
As one of the more experienced squad members Patrick is well versed on what is required in defence. “It was a tough game, fierce tough, big strong men Limerick, the body’s sore now after it, the nature of the full-back line is you mightn’t get a ball for too long but five of em might come in on the trot in that sense you had real tough spells but then you had spells where you get a bit of a breather aswell”.
This year’s championship has been underwhelming for spectators with many experts blaming an over tactical change in the game. Regardless of systems the Tubber man is loving the chance to play for his County on the big days.
“I enjoy every day I go out and play in front of a big crowd in Thurles, that’s what we all dreamed of as a young fella, I enjoy the roar of the crowd when something goes against you or for you, that’s what we live for so any day I go out I thoroughly enjoy it, I didn’t enjoy the fifth of June too much now but that’s sport”.