Forward thinking Tubridy looks for Clare to raise their game

THERE was that trademark point from distance in the drawn game – the kind of strike, with the same arcing draw of a golf shot that prompted Liam McHale to christen him Clare’s Maurice Fitzgerald a few years back.
There was the goal in that same game, coolly dispatched into the onion bag with his left leg that should have been enough to ensure that Waterford didn’t live to fight another day. Then there was his point in the first half of the replay.
However, taken as a whole, it’s safe to say that the scoring machine from out Shanahan McNamara Park way hasn’t yet ignited where this year’s senior championship is concerned.
The Doonbeg man had a stellar spring campaign, as he’s always done – racking up an impressive 1-40 to confirm himself as Clare’s top scorer for the eighth successive league season.
Now to really bring that into championship – what better occasion to do that when having the biggest bluebloods of the game from the south bank of the Shannon Estuary come to town.
A huge occasion for Clare and a huge opportunity for Tubridy to showcase the fact that in Munster it’s not just Kerry and Cork who have a monopoly on marquee forwards who can light up the summer.
Tubridy is that man for Clare – his were the two wonder points at the death against Limerick in The Gaelic Grounds two years ago that propelling Clare into that year’s Munster final.
Now to do it again. That’s the lofty ambition, but if you haven’t got ambition as a footballer, you probably haven’t got much else.
The 27-year-old inter-provincial star is hopeful, because these are the days you football for. “Who knows what will happen against Kerry – maybe we can cause an upset,” he says. “That’s what we’re aiming for and we’re looking at it as a great chance.
“It’s a great opportunity – you always want to be playing the top teams, the Kerrys, the Corks. To have them at home is a great thing and hopefully we can get a crowd behind us and kick on.
“Our aim from the start of the year was to get to play Kerry in Cusack Park. We have that chance now and we want to make the most of it. It’s a big thing for us and one that we have worked hard for,” he adds.
Tubridy’s positive soundings come on the back of how far the team have travelled this year – the promotion hurdle has finally been jumped after the many near misses since 2010; now to make that quantum leap to really mixing it with the big boys.
“We believe we can,” says Tubridy. “We have done a lot of work this year. Players are more focused. The boys that came in this year – Colm Collins, Paudie Kissane, Ger Keane and Chris de Looze. They have been really top guys in what they’ve done with the team.
“There’s a different system and Colm has really worked hard to cut down on the mistakes that we were making in games last year. It’s a great set-up to be involved with at the moment.
“You can see that in all the players on the panel. There is a great buzz in the camp – you are just delighted to be turning up at training every Tuesday and Thursday night, there’s always a good feeling out there and there’s a confidence there.”
Now for a few of those perfect draws, with the leather arcing over the bar after which the Kerry crew will label Tubridy as Clare’s answer to Maurice Fitzgerald.
And, another one in the onion bag would do nicely too.

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