This weekend will see Eire Óg contest the last four of the Clare senior hurling championship for the first time since 2003, as they renew rivalries with the defending champions Sixmilebridge.
The Townies booked their spot in the last four with an impressive win over Feakle last time out in a game they dominated both on and off the field to lay down a marker of their championship intentions.
Mattie Shannon’s side have regrouped since their opening round loss to Sixmilebridge to take down both Cratloe and Feakle, and now have their eyes on dethroning the title holders in what will be their third meeting in the last 12 months.
Speaking after their win over Feakle, Shannnon was pleased with how his side took on that test and recovered from a slow start to run out comfortable winners.
“We knew there was a big battle battle coming and our lads prepared very hard over the last few weeks. We had a poor first 15 minutes but I felt after that we seemed to settle down and tagged on a few scores coming up to half-time. We are moving on to the next stage of the competition and that is what it is all about really. I felt we made a lot of basic mistakes in the first quarter and maybe it came from lads being a bit tense and holding that hurley too tight when the ball was bouncing everywhere except where it should. A lot of their scores came from our mistakes, but in the second and third quarter I thought we settled down a bit and played much closer to our potential. There is still lots of room for improvement though. We got over the line and that is the main thing, to take that next step on the ladder” he noted.
Since their opening round tie, Eire Óg have welcomed back captain Aaron Fitzgerald to their starting line up, while county star David Reidy was also absent that day but has since returned from injury. Shannon admits having options in their panel is a positive and is looking forward to another huge battle.
“I would say they are licking their lips at the thoughts of playing us, but I really think it does not matter who we are playing. I have been saying all year that on a given day, anyone could take it out so it will be just another game that happens to be a semi-final. We have had lads working hard all year and on a given day, everyone is entitled to their shot. Lads going well today may not perform the next day so it really is all about the panel and while it might be a cliché, that really is the case. You need those lads to come and make a difference when they are called on” he said.