THE message was clear from Kilmurry Ibrickane corner — they may have been just seconds away from victory in the drawn encounter before being reeled in by Cathal McInerney, but being so near meant they were yet so far away from county title glory.
All because their performance the first day just wasn’t good enough, something that was drilled into the team in the two weeks leading up to the replay.
Yeah they’d had their moments in the drawn game, but there was more — there had to be more if the Jack Daly was to head for the barony of Ibrickane once more.
And so it was put up to the ‘Bricks to produce more, as selector James Murrihy pointed out the pre-match rituals, mantras and much more that stoked a second half performance that’s up there with the most defining of the decade.
“I said between the two games,” revealed Murphy, “and it was that our county boys were going to have to step up big time for us. In fairness to them they did that. Marty McMahon got a great goal, Enda Coughlan was back to his old self, Shane Hickey had a great game and Keelan….”
Murrihy didn’t need to say much about Keelan Sexton — his football really did the talking on the day as he bookended his championship when goaling a penalty that won him the top score award.
In many ways that penalty was a microcosm of the ‘Bricks in that second half — the game was over before Sexton stepped up, but there was no mercy as he drilled it home.
“The jugular,” said Murrihy. “It was about going for the jugular all through that second half. We were two points up at half-time and we said inside that we were going to go for the jugular — we weren’t going to leave it behind us. They duly turned it on in the second half.
“In the space of a two-minute spell after half-time we ended up scoring 1-2 and the lads really didn’t take the foot off them at all. We kept it up to the end because that’s what we had to do — that’s what we asked them to do and the did it,” he added.
And they did it with a display of hunger not produced by the ‘Bricks in the county championship since the first half of the 2012 county final against St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield when putting the game to bed with a half an hour to spare.
“It was great to be able to enjoy that las six or seven minutes when we had the game won,” admitted Murrihy, “because we could give fellas like Thomas O’Connor and Johnnie Daly a run, get them on the pitch. They’re two great warriors for the club and it was great for them to win a county title on the pitch.
“There are four of us on the management, but all of those players are around the block for a long time. A lot of those lads played in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day — all we do is facilitate them.
“They know that they only have a couple of years left in them and in fairness they put the shoulder to the wheel and for the first time in a long while we’ve had four lads from the parish over the team — we haven’t had that outside influence and as a group as a club we were very hungry for the title this year.”
A ravenous hunger that Cratloe simply couldn’t live with.
See this weeks Clare People for more
Above: Shane Hickey and Thomas O’Connor accept the Jack Daly Cup from Clare County Board chairman Joe Cooney.