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Griffin lends her experience

Along with Eithne Morrissey and Denise Walsh, West Clare Gaels forward Majella Griffin furnishes the Clare dressing room with a lorry load of inter-county experience.
The St Senan’s National School, Kilrush teacher was part of Clare’s All-Ireland junior championship winning team in 1996 and also picked up Munster senior and NFL division 1 league medals in 2001.
Clare’s leading forward since the middle of the 90s, Majella is intent on winning this time out. Last September, perhaps the excitement of playing in Croke Park got to Clare. On Sunday, all they are interested in is closing the deal. 
“Last year, it was our first year in Croke Park for this team and our first year getting to an All-Ireland final. So this year the focus is not on Croke Park; it’s on winning. Last year we played there and lost. We don’t want a repeat performance this year,” Majella stated.
Last month’s semi-final win didn’t unduly excite Clare. 
“After the semi-final there were no mad celebrations. It was just that we had got to where we wanted to be and now we’ve to finish the job. We know the run of things in Croke Park. Where the bus brings you and where it drops you off. Even the whole stadium because it’s bigger and wider than a lot of pitches I would have played in. Having the knowledge is always a good thing to have,” Majella believes.
As for the calm that herself and Eithne Morrissey sprinkle in the Clare dressing room, Majella feels that the squad has a feasible, title-winning blend.
“There is a good blend of experience and youth. The experienced ones help bring up the younger ones so they can wise up a little bit. If you do need to give advice, they take it,” she said.
Clare is the only intermediate championship county who played Division 1 league football this season. Competing against All-Ireland champions Cork, 2008 finalists Monaghan and Mayo are bound to have brought them on.
“We played Cork and Mayo and it was the last 20 minutes of those games that beat us. So for 30 or 40 minutes we were with them. Even just to be playing at that intensity and then to carry that on in the championship is good,” Majella maintains. 
Yet championship is where real progress is measured. If Clare win this weekend, they’ll be playing senior next year. 
“Getting back up to senior level, where we were a few years ago; it’s where every team wants to be. To be back in Croke Park at senior level is everyone’s dream,” Majella Griffin suggests.
If Clare’s most consistent forward for more than a decade gets her way, she and her team-mates, be they veterans or fledglings, will be playing senior championship football in 2010.

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