A nine-point haul in an All-Ireland final is a tremendous achievement and certainly worthy of special praise. Newmarket’s Colin Ryan achieved such a feat on Sunday when his scores played a crucial part in Clare recording a memorable, one-point victory over defending champions Kilkenny.
Colin contributed all but one of Clare’s eight first half points, six from frees and one from a ’65. However, his two second-half scores were arguably the most valuable of his final tally. One of these came from a 95m free and the second, two minutes from time, was from deep inside his own half and a superb strike.
“It’s a fantastic feeling. Our game was to run at them. They gave away an awful lot of frees in the first half. In the second half it was a bit more tight,” according to Ryan.
Was he worried when Kilkenny went two points clear in the second half?
“We knew from the game against Galway what it was like to be behind. That one was up and down, up and down. We knew that if we just fought hard and didn’t panic, we would get back into it,” replied Ryan.
Asked about the quality of Clare’s second half scores, he said, “There were one or two points we needed. We had hit a couple of wides. John Conlon fought hard for a ball and ran in and scored. It was a great score which we needed at the time and it settled us.”
Beating Kilkenny in the final was particularly pleasing. “There was talk of this Kilkenny team not been as good as other Kilkenny teams but we knew that to win an All-Ireland, we had to be beating Kilkenny. We knew that they knew what they were coming into today. We played them down in Nowlan Park. They knew us and we knew them. Winning an All-Ireland against Kilkenny is just unreal. We came up here to do a job. The Clare public were behind us and thankfully we did that job,” Ryan concluded.
Ryan’s tally of 0-9 brought his total for this championship to 3-33 and put him at the top of Clare’s scorers for the campaign. Darach Honan, who didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet on Sunday, contributed 5-10 to Clare’s championship tally of 9-77.