Munster Junior Football Final Preview: Capt O’Connor leads from midfield

County senior star Cathal O’Connor has been the driving force behind Coolmeen’s run to the Munster Final – the midfielder and captain spoke to Evan Greer ahead of Sunday’s date with destiny in Mallow against Kerry cahmpions Templenoe.

Coolmeen are 60 minutes away from creating history, by becoming the first Clare team to win the Munster Junior Club Football Championship since the competition’s inception in 2003.
Captain Cathal O’Connor has been hugely influential in the 2015 campaign thus far and is hoping that he and his team mates will turn in a the performance that’s required on Sunday.
“There’s a good buzz among the team alright. We’ve been taking every game as it comes so far really,” he says. “We went out the first day (against Limerick champions Cappagh) and we were hoping that we would put in a decent performance and see how we got on.
“Once we got through that, it was only then that we really knuckled down and said that we would have a good rattle at the Munster Championship, and thankfully we got through the second game (against Waterford champions Modeligo), and hopefully we’ll do the same for the final.”
Coolmeen have been involved in a number of close encounters on their way to the Munster Final, and Clare senior footballer O’Connor believes this has given his side a great amount of preparation for Sunday’s decider.
He believes that if Coolmeen can keep the game tight, then they will have the advantage coming into the closing stages of the match.
“An awful lot of our games this year have been very tight, and as far as I know Templenoe have been winning their games quite heavily so far. We’re hoping that if we can keep the game tight, then we will have a bit of an advantage in the last couple of minutes to see us over the line.”
Sunday’s opponents will be the Kerry Champions Templenoe, who will enter the game as favourites. Kerry teams have dominated the Munster Junior Championship, winning 12 out of 14 finals since the competition’s inception a dozen years ago. O’Connor believes that Coolmeen will be in for a very tough game on Sunday.
“They’ll definitely be a good side. They’re like all Kerry teams, well able to play football and they’ll have plenty of good forwards who’ll be well able to pick off scores,” says teh Clare midfielder.
“Hopefully we’ll just try to keep the game tight. We haven’t been conceding big scores so far, so if we can keep things tight, we’ll have a good chance of winning on Sunday.”
Coolmeen managed to seal their return to the Clare Intermediate Football Championship this year after years of heartbreak, losing out in several Junior championship semi-finals adn finals in the lead-up to the 2015 campaign.
O’Connor says that they will look to teams like St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay as inspiration for their team to drive on and push to win the Intermediate Football Championship in the next few years.
“It (winning the Munster Championship) would be absolutely massive for us. It keeps the interest going, as this year has almost run into next year as such.
“We look at teams like Miltown Malbay, who got relegated from Senior a few years ago and then got to a Munster Intermediate Final, and within two years they won the Jack Daly Cup.
“I’ll be hopeful that we can do something similar. Hopefully if we can win the Munster Junior Championship, then within the next couple of years, we could be challenging for the Intermediate Championship in Clare.”


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