Cusack Cup Final Preview
Clondegad v Kilmurry Ibrickane @ St Michael’s Park, Kilmihil
KILMURRY Ibrickane shooting for history and Clondegad, who thought they’d be looking forward to an historic first ever county final appearance and were dreaming of a league/championship double, getting a chance to see what they’re made of.
That’s the sub-plot of this Cusack Cup final that takes place this Sunday, which regardless of the result will produce a slice of Clare football history.
Kilmurry Ibrickane first. They’ve won the last four Cusack Cup finals — beating St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield in the finals of 2011 and ’12 and then following up with defeats of Éire Óg in the 2013 and ’14 finals.
Last year’s win over the Townies put them on a par with the great Doonbeg Magpies team of the late 1960s and early ‘70s in winning four-in-a-row — now for that elusive five-in-a-row to make the ‘Bricks the greatest Cusack Cup side ever.
It’s true that it might all be about championship for the ‘Bricks and chasing Jack Daly — the competition they’ve flattered to deceive in over the past three seasons, but make no mistake about it, such is their passion for success that they’ll be up for this in a big way on Sunday.
They had no sub to call on for last Saturday’s Senior B final against St Senan’s Kilkee, but there’ll be no shortage of numbers this time out as they eye another prize against a crestfallen Clondegad outfit.
They were firm favourites to beat Cooraclare in last Sunday’s county semi-final — probably lulled into the fall sense of security after beating Clondegad in the Cusack Cup by 12 points they were blitzed by the Milesians.
A week on it will be very hard to pick it up, but their response to last Sunday’s defeat here will say much about their character.
Yes the Cusack Cup is the consolation prize, but still it’s a big prize. Clondegad haven’t been in a final since 1943 when they provided six players to the Coolmeen United amalgamtion; they’ve never won the competition.
This is their chance, with a win taking some of the pain away, while also being great sustenance over the winter as they circle the wagons for another assault on the Jack Daly in 2016. It will be hard though.
Éire Óg were in the same boat last year after losing the county final to Cratloe, but couldn’t lift it against the ‘Bricks in the Cusack Cup decider.
The same fate could befall Clondegad here, with the combination of the champions’ drive for history and their great record in finals — between championship, Cusack Cup and O’Gorman Cup deciders since 2008 they have a remarkable record.
Four county finals — four wins. Five Cusack Cup finals — four wins. Four O’Gorman Cup finals — four wins.
That’s 13 wins from 14 finals at senior level, with the only defeat being to Cooraclare in the 2009 Cusack Cup final.
They’ll want to protect that record and build on it with another final win.
Clondegad will be hurting and there will be a backlash, but it mightn’t be enough to get the better of the blue bloods from the barony of Ibrickane.
Verdict: Kilmurry Ibrickane
Paths to the Final
21 March @ Quilty
Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-8 Lissycasey 0-10
6 April @ Doonaha
Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-14 O’Curry’s 0-10
17 April @ Quilty
Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-12 Éire Óg 0-4
2 May @ Cooraclare
Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-8 Cooraclare 1-3
4 May @ Miltown
Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-8
St Joseph’s Miltown 0-8
29 May @ Quilty
Kilmurry Ibrickane 1-20 Doonbeg 0-5
12 July @ Ballynacally
Kilmurry Ibrickane 3-12
21 March @ Ballynacally
Clondegad 1-12 O’Curry’s 0-9
6 April @ Lissycasey
Clondegad 1-9 Lissycasey 1-8
19 April @ Ballynacally
Clondegad 1-15 St Joseph’s Miltown 1-5
28 April @ Ballynacally
Clondegad 1-6 Doonbeg 0-4
4 May @ Éire Óg
Clondegad 1-12 Éire Óg 0-8
1 June @ Cooraclare
Clondegad 2-14 Cooraclare 0-8
12 July @ Ballynacally
Clondegad 1-10 Kilmurry Ibrickane 3-12
1 August @ Ballynacally
Clondegad 3-10 Lissycasey 2-4