2016 has been one a year to remember for Colm Collins, he’s hoping for it to end positively for Cratloe in Sunday’s Clare SFC Final.
Manager of the Clare and Cratloe Senior Footballers, Colm is unsurprisingly a busy man. This year saw him oversee a second promotion in three years from the National Football League and a championship run that saw them take the scalps of Laois, Sligo and Roscommon to make the County’s first appearance in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals.
Colm has an abundance of respect for the players he managed at County level but there’s something different and unique about the club. “Clare was very enjoyable, tremendous group of lads that worked really hard and got some good wins out of the year and promotion was great, it’s great to be up there playing in Division 2 next year. Club is a different thing you’re with kids that you coached at underage level so it’s nice in that nice way, let’s see does it end happy on Sunday or not”.
A native of Kilmihil, Collins has been the chief driving force behind the gaelic football revolution in Cratloe. He’s been involved with this group of players at underage and intermediate level. “They are a fantastic bunch, they always work really hard at it and we’ve had some really great days with them underage coming up along in victory and defeat, it’s nice to be back in a County Final and we’re really looking forward to Sunday”.
Of Sunday’s opponents Colm is well aware of the challenge they will bring, he describes them as a team with plenty of good footballers that “are comfortable on the ball”. Only their best will do to claim the club’s third ever Clare SFC title in his eyes but he feels more at ease knowing the spirit and character of the Cratloe players.
“We always feel with this group that they can do it, seven points at half-time wasn’t massive, it was the manner of how we conceded the goals more than anything else that was upsetting. Thankfully we tightened up a good bit, showed good composure to tap away at the scoreboard and not get too greedy in the end, it could have gone either way in full-time” Collins said of their semi-final win over Miltown.
Conor McGrath is ruled out of the County Final having dislocated his shoulder as Cratloe exited the Clare SHC at the semi-final stage to Clonlara. “Losing a county semi-final was bad enough but losing Conor into the bargain was pretty severe, that’s what it is when you play sport that’s part of it you’ve just got to deal with it and get on with it”.
His three sons Sean, Pádraic and David will start tomorrow. This year has been David the youngest of the trio’s most influential in the Cratloe jersey and his father hopes there’s another good sixty minutes in him.
“He has done well to be fair to him, hopefully there’s another good game in him” he laughed, “that’s the important one, it’s nice for him starting in a county final for the first time. Hopefully he has another good performance in him”.
Bunting is flying all over the South Clare village with the club grateful to have a chance at success this year. “There’s a nice buzz around the place, it isn’t often you get beaten in one county semi-final and the next game you’re looking forward to is a county final in the other code so I think there’s a good buzz around the place and people are really looking forward to it”.
Collins in his day job is well used to adding quality wooden finishes with Acorn Hardwood Floors, sealing the deal with Cratloe in Cusack Park tomorrow would be the perfect ending for his managerial career in 2016.