THE Rock of Cashel Trophy has crossed the Shannon into Clare for the second time in four seasons – now for the next giant step of bringing Munster and All-Ireland silverware back to the county at senior level in the coming years.
That was the battle hymn of the Clare hurling Republic that resounded and reverberated in surround sound on Saturday night under Semple Stadium’s lights and again on Sunday as Clare celebrated their stunning 2-17 to 2-11 All-Ireland Under 21 final victory over Kilkenny.
The All-Ireland title, the county’s eighth major championship success in four years, has sparked renewed belief that senior success is the next step in the evolution of the revolution that has been experienced within Clare hurling since the landmark Munster and All-Ireland Under 21 successes of 2009.
“We’re building towards a senior All-Ireland,” said Clare County Board chairman, Michael O’Neill. “That’s what we want and that’s what it’s all about. We’ll enjoy this, but we want senior success. We have put the structures in place. We have the players and we are getting the rewards for having the right systems in place,” he added.
These words have been echoed by members of the Under 21 management team who returned to Ennis in triumph on Sunday night with their players for a joint Clare County Council and Ennis Town Council reception at Abbey Street carpark that attracted a crowd of up to 3,000.
“If they keep making the decisions they have been making over the past three years, they will eventually overcome any team,” said selector Jimmy Browne in looking to the future.
“We have the pace; we have the power; we have the hurling; we have the touch and now we have the mentality to win,” he added.
“There has been a phenomenal shift in power in the hurling bases in Clare over the past number of years,” said joint-manager Gerry O’Connor.
“The development squads are doing a fantastic job. Seanie McMahon, Jamesie O’Connor, Brian Quinn and Jim McInerney, led by Sean O’Halloran, got involved and put the structures in place to win All-Irelands. Clubs have stepped up. It’s all about being pro-active to bring Clare right to the top,” he added.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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