Kerry’s four time All-Ireland winner Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper believes that Clare should play without fear against Cork in the Munster Senior Championship final in the Gaelic Grounds on July 8.
Cooper, the holder of seven Munster Senior Championship medals, was in Ennis CBS Primary School on Thursday in his role as AIB National Youth Ambassador, in connection with AIB Ennis Branch Manager, Kieran Considine, to impart some footballing knowledge on the students and coach a number of teams. And following his Kerry side’s defeat to the Rebels in their semi-final the previous weekend, Cooper feels that firm underdogs Clare should look forward to their first final in 12 years.
“I do give Clare a chance. I don’t think Clare will go into the final in awe of Cork in any way and they shouldn’t either. Cork are, of course, a fine side but I think Clare will be buzzing and even talking to people here in Clare, they are very bouyant by the semi-final win.
“Even though Limerick came back very strong at them, I think it’s better off winning like that than going on to win the game easy. They were better off getting a test at the end of the game and it will give a massive confidence to their players ahead of the final.
“Of course, they will be going in as outsiders but that will suit Clare I’m sure and playing in the Gaelic Grounds, it’s not like they are going down to Pairc Uí Chaoimh to play them. It’s a neutral venue and I’m sure they will be thinking back 20 years ago when they took a Kerry scalp as well.
“I don’t think they should be too fearful. They should look forward to it more than anything.”
29-year-old Cooper, who has also been honoured with seven All-Star award, received a rousing welcome in Ennis CBS and was heartened by the positive talk surrounding Clare football following the seniors 1-13 to 0-15 victory over neighbours Limerick in their last four clash over a week ago.
“I was just chatting and messing with the kids about Clare’s win last week and they are all talking about it and can’t wait to go to the Munster final.
“I suppose they haven’t come across that in their lifetime so it is the be-all and end-all to these guys and the talk is all on the Munster final rather than the Euro’s which is great to see. The kids are instead talking about local players and I’m sure that hasn’t been the case in a while in Clare and that’s exactly where they want.
Above: Colm Cooper talks to pupils, teachers and parents at Ennis CBS.