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Seaview six savour the final moment

SEAVIEW Park in Quilty is an Ian McInerney free kick away from Kilmurry-Ibrickane GAA field. Uniquely, McInerney, who plays at centre-forward, is one of six players from the estate who will pull on the green and red jersey on March 17 before Kilmurry play the biggest game in their history.Noel Downes will wear number 15, while Paul O’Connor and Stephen Moloney will start at midfield and in the half-forward line respectively. They’ll be joined on the panel by Brendan Moloney (Stephen’s brother) and Thomas O’Connor (Paul’s brother). The Downes, O’Connor and Moloney family houses are situated next to each other, while the McInerneys live at the front of the park. The craic is good amongst the Seaview Park six. “I’m down in the posh part. This is the rough spot around here. I’m not usually up this far,” Ian McInerney laughs as he verbally jostles with his team-mates. “I’ve to come up and mind Downes, the small fella,” he adds, …

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Kilmurry to bring Andy Merrigan Cup to Clare

WHEN the Kilmurry-Ibrickane players and management hear the knock on their dressing room door at around 3.20pm next Wednesday, the most epic hour in the club’s history will be ticking towards starting point. The talking, cajoling, planning and convincing will be almost at an end. It will be time to play. It will be time to add the Andy Merrigan Cup to Jack Daly and the Munster club titles, both of whom are already housed in Quilty.The Kilmurry supporters can well afford to get caught up in the hype and excitement of the club’s history-making exploits. Why wouldn’t they as their community nears a day of days? An afternoon that will be recalled in vivid and perhaps even exaggerated detail for generations. Players or management cannot think along the same lines though. At the same time, it will almost impossible to escape the pre-match commotion. Up to a point, the electricity in the Kilmurry air can be utilised to inspire …

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Monday is the new Sunday

THE longer Kilmurry-Ibrickane’s season extends, the easier it has been for Micheál McDermott to leave the ladder in his garage in Ballyduff, Barefield. Now that he is managing the county team, along with the Clare and Munster club champions, the Cavan man is tied up on the football front six days a week. Monday is his night off but it’s not an evening when he feels like reaching for the ladder. “Just unwind and get your plans in order for the following week. Have an early night and just recharge the batteries. I find that Monday is so relaxing,” McDermott, who is in his second year in charge of Kilmurry, explained. His wife Marie, who is from Armagh, is as passionate about horses as her husband is about football. Although she might be temporarily stunned, Marie can’t wait for the day when Micheál is seen on top of the ladder, armed with a paint brush. “There’s a lot of little …

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Coughlan’s living the dream

  IT’S every player’s dream to play in an All-Ireland final and Kilmurry-Ibrickane captain Enda Coughlan is no different. From his juvenile days, he has always wanted to play in an All-Ireland final and this goal will be fulfilled next week when he leads the Clare champions against St Gall’s.“Patrick Murrihy started us out here around 1990 and while All-Irelands weren’t on our mind then, it’s a dream come through. It’s every young fella’s dream to play there for his club and county and thankfully that dream has come through for us now, the Clare champion’s skipper said this week.Like most Kilmurry-Ibrickane  members, he believes that the national Féile title win a decade ago has played a big part in the senior team’s march to this year’s final. He played at U-14 level the previous year when Clare hosted the Féile and they were beaten by the Division 1 winners, Salthill.“Kilmurry had a good quality team in when they went …

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Working his way through the ranks

  ANY coach who wants an example of textbook football should watch a video of the 2006 Clare U-21 final when Kilmurry-Ibrickane clinched their fourth title in a row with a scintillating performance in the opening 20 minutes.The young men in red and green blitzed Doonbeg in Cooraclare, notching 1-8 without reply, a display that would not have been out of place from any county senior champions.Although a spirited Doonbeg outfit showed great character to reduce the deficit to just four points in the 40th minute when other teams would have totally collapsed, Dermot Coughlan’s young charges were still able to re-ignite their tremendous teamwork and clinical finishing to run out convincing 1-13 to 1-6 winners.Manager, Dermot Coughlan feels this was the best display by Kilmurry from their six U-21 titles at this level against a strong Doonbeg outfit.Coughlan noted the club’s outstanding run at underage level provided a great foundation for senior success and should provide players with enough …

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For blessed is she amongst men…

  INHIBITIONS went out the window a long time ago for Michelle Downes. The Doonaha woman has grown accustomed to invading the privacy of a male-dominated dressing room. Now she doesn’t bat an eyelid, it’s a simple case of getting on with the job and her job is that of sports rehabilitator. But during that time, she has been exposed to several pranks. She takes the banter in her stride and isn’t slow to hit back. It helps break the ice and build up a rapport with the players.“When I was studying in Carlow Institute of Technology, part of our education involved placement with boys’ teams. The course was sports-related and being in a team setting was a big part of it. Working in a dressing room full of males was hard at the beginning but I’ve got used to that scene now,” Michelle admits. “I’m with the Kilmurry teams for the past two years but at the start, I …

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Just 56 years waiting

NEXT week will be the first time in 56 years that a football team from Clare will take to the field for an All-Ireland final at minor, U-21 or senior level.In September 1953, a promising Clare minor team imploded when they faced Mayo in Croke Park, going down by 2-11 to 1-6 and it’s not a fond memory for Michael Garry who was in goal.The week after Kilmurry-Ibrickane stunned Portlaoise, he appealed to the All-Ireland finalists to give it everything, through the letter page of The Clare Champion. “I was part of the Clare minor team beaten by Mayo in the 1953 All-Ireland final and I’m still hurting from that experience. I plead with all the Kilmurry-Ibrickane players to give it their absolute best shot so that they can live happily with the memory for the rest of their lives,” he wrote.Michael now lives in Australia but grew up in Ennis and while he said the ’53 final was disappointing, …

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The seniors of the future

  IN any discussion about Kilmurry-Ibrickane football, the name of Patrick Murrihy will come into the conversation. The majority of the current panel will claim it was Patrick, who first coached them. Currently chairman of the Kilmurry-Ibrickane minor club, he continues to be one of the leading figures in driving the club’s coaching programme.Speaking to Patrick ahead of next week’s All-Ireland final, he maintains that the coaching policy operated by the club and the securing of their own headquarters have played vital roles in the club’s progress to the position where they are now one step away from being crowned All-Ireland senior champions.“Around the end of the ’80s and early ’90s, the club purchased land and with the field being developed, it was attractive for young fellas to be playing. It was the first time that we ever had a home of our own. The coaching was a bit alien to all of us but we said if we were …

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