This is a game with several interesting side angles, but it will be ultimately what happens between the four white lines which will be the main concern for both.
It will pit Clare senior football manager Colm Collins against his county selector in Declan O’Keefe with the former All-Ireland winner forming a crucial part of Donie Garrihy’s backroom team.
Collins will also will come up against a number of players who form part of the Clare senior football squad with the likes of Alan Sweeney, Dale Masterson and Joe McGann all being central players for last year’s intermediate champions.
The North Clare men have been foot perfect in terms of results so far this year with an opening round win over Cooraclare being followed up by an impressive victory over neighbours Ennistymon to seal their last four spot.
No one will be more aware than Garrihy that the level of opposition they face this weekend will be the toughest of the campaign to date, but there is no doubting but that they will be relishing the challenge that presents.
Cratloe will come into this one both battle hardened and confident having come through the playoff series with wins over Clondegad and Miltown. It was the manner of their victory over the champions that caught the eye the most, and the south-east Clare men will be well primed for their shot at another final appearance.
The addition of new faces to Cratloe’s line up in 2020 have added a new dynamic with the seasoned Billy Sheehan and youthful Shane Neville both having impacts in their run to the last four. The return of Ogie Murphy has also been a major plus, with the Cratloe bench also now being well stocked to make a difference when called on.
The St Breckan’s attack is undoubtedly a potent one with a dangerous inside line of Aidan Davidson, Joe McGann and the exciting Jamie Stack more than capable of asking major questions of the Cratloe defence. The same is true at the other end of the field where the return of Cathal McInerney to full fitness along with a reinvigorated Podge Collins and hardworking Conor McGrath all pose plenty threat.
Two astute management teams will work to try and nullify that threat, where the battle of the middle third will be central to the story of the game. Liam Markham and Sean Collins will be key for Cratloe, while Masterson and Sweeney will be central for St Breckan’s.
It has the potential to be a high scoring game, but at the same time neither management team will be too keen for that to unfold. Cratloe’s greater defensive depth could well be the critical factor and stopping the supply to that St Breckan’s inside line will be the order of the day.