Although he had scored 2-1 from play and picked up the man of the match award, 18-year-old Conor McGrath was as understated afterwards as a player who hadn’t a hit a ball might have been.
The Cratloe man buried his brace of goals inside a four-minute first half spell. “The first one was lucky; it came back off the post. The second one, it just kind of broke in behind and I ran on to it,” is how the razor sharp corner forward described his double strike.
McGrath’s first goal dragged Cratloe level, (1-2 to 0-5), while his second had the same effect, coming seconds after 17-year-old Cillian Fennessy had scored Clonara’s goal.
Three minutes into the second half, McGrath turned and left Brian Woods before shooting over an inspirational point, tying the 2009 final 2-4 to 1-7.
Later he came out to the half-forward line, where he picked up plenty of possession as Cratloe threw everything at the 2008 champions.
That said it was Padraig Chaplin who struck late for glory. “I thought it was gone from us at the end. But thankfully ‘Chappy’ came on and stuck a goal. It broke and I thought he was going to put it over for the draw but he went for it. I don’t know how it went in or anything but it did anyway,” McGrath recalled.
Both teams missed chances from frees and open play. Conditions didn’t help though as the pitch cut up, as the rain mixed with a strengthening wind for most of the second half.
“It was very hard to strike the frees today. We missed a lot of chances playing with the wind in the second half and Clonara pegged us back. They missed a few frees themselves but you couldn’t blame free takers today because of the conditions,” McGrath concluded, his summation as balanced as the poise he had shown during Cratloe’s greatest hour.