HAVING seen at first hand how fluently Cratloe played against Cooraclare, Kilrush manager Aidan Moloney knows his team will have to work exceptionally hard, defend in numbers and tackle ferociously if they are to compete with their opponents in Sunday’s Senior Football Championship quarter-final.
Last year’s semi-finalists have been boosted by the return of John Moody. who could have a key role to play at midfield, where Fergal Lynch and Cillian Duggan dominated against Cooraclare. However, Moloney has identified not conceding goals as a paramount priority.
“From our point of view, Cratloe looked very impressive the last day. We’d be hoping that Kilrush come with a lot of intensity. There’s no doubt but that if we’re going to go out and concede goals, we haven’t a prayer against them.
“If we can stop them scoring goals and make them kick from further out, I think we might have a chance,” he suggested.
Cratloe blitzed Cooraclare, largely by running at them from all angles and tackling fervently when Cooraclare had possession. Cooraclare regularly spilled the ball when forced into contact.
However, while Moloney is planning that Kilrush will be more defensively minded than Cooraclare, who left their full-back line exposed, he said their forwards will have to deliver a possible match-winning total.
“They’re very strong around the middle of the field. If we allow them to run at us all the time, we’re going to have serious problems. We have our own forwards, who can score as well and we’d be hoping that it won’t be a defensive effort in total.
“We are going out to win the game because defence will only do so much for you. Our own forwards are going to have to step up to the mark,” the Kilmurry Ibrickane man said.
Based on their display last Sunday, Cratloe should have too much for Kilrush.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Clondegad play Cooraclare in Kilmihil, with the winners progressing to a quarter-final meeting with Doonbeg the following Monday.
Having had no championship game for 78 days, Cooraclare could possibly play three games within eight days if they defeat Clondegad. The latter have several players involved with county hurling semi-finalists Ballyea, which should have them very match sharp.
Gary Brennan, Francie O’Reilly, Brian Carrig and Gearóid O’Connell are regulars on both teams, while Tony Kelly and Paul Flanagan played central roles in Clondegad’s 2012 U-21 football win, although they have yet to play senior football this year.
Cooraclare will have been hardened by their defeat to Cratloe, which might sharpen them up. It has the makings of a very tight game but Clondegad might just edge it and qualify for a quarter-final meeting with The Magpies.