THEY belong to a select club. Clare’s All-Ireland final teams.
The ‘Barefoot Ones’ from Tulla, the ‘Bould’ Robert Emmets who blazed a trail by reaching the big day in 1889; the class of 1914 that brought home the first All-Ireland title; the team of ’32 captained by full-back John Joe ‘Goggles’ Doyle; the team of 2002 captained by another full-back Brian Lohan after Ger Loughnane’s Dalcassian army marched on Dublin in ’95 and ’97 and won their All-Ireland days.
A select club indeed and it’s no wonder some of Davy Fitzgerald’s first words on Sunday were “they way we have to rank this is that Clare have only been in six finals in over 120 years” and “that’s a pretty big achievement whatever happens”.
It’s a huge achievement as an All-Ireland final showdown with the bluebloods of Cork beckons on September 8 next after Sunday’s scintillating 1-22 to 0-18 win over Munster champions Limerick.
Cue a frenzy for tickets; cue a slew of All-Ireland airs from an updated version of Aaron Esley ‘Come on the Banner 1995’ to a rendition of ‘Davy’s Winning Matches’ and much, much more.
The All-Ireland journey is six matches in, but it’s only really beginning. The county can’t wait. People around the world, wherever saffron and blue is worn, can’t wait.
Bring it on.