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Inagh-Kilnamona's Clare Hehir (right) keeps an eye on Kilmaley's Claire McMahon. Pic by Eugene McCafferty

Hehir Hoping Hurt Of 2019 Will Drive Combo Back To Clare Camogie Glory

Inagh-Kilnamona captain Clare Hehir knows plenty about the big occasions, having played a key role for club and county over the last few years.

2019 was the first year since 2014 that Inagh-Kilnamona did not feature in the showpiece event of Clare camogie, with defeat to Scariff Ogonnelloe at the semi-final stage seeing them miss out on the big day.

Hehir, a former Ashbourne winning captain with UL, admits that disappointment is something they tapped into this year.

“It is great to be back here again because when you miss out on one, you realise how special it is to be in a county final. There is a real buzz around it so it is great to be back there again. What happened last year was all our motivation for 2020. We felt ourselves that watching Scariff-Ogonnelloe going on to win the county final and then conquering Munster that we began to start thinking about all the things we probably should have done to make things go differently. You have to take your chances and they really did that. They went on an unbelievable run of form and reapred the rewards of it. It has really been player driven and we are lucky that we have a lot of our players around at the moment. Our senior and junior team train together so having those numbers and players fighting for positions is great. There is no player safe and we saw that in the last game. Subs are being made and players are being switched so there is no one safe. You just have to make sure you are at your best every day to make sure you will be playing the next day. When you are training yourself at home, it is hard to keep it going because you don’t know what is going to happen. Everyone came back that first night at training just purely for the fun of it, and no one was thinking about winning a championship or anything like that. It was just great to be back together and having fun with the girls because we had not seen each other in person for so long. It was just fun to back and we really enjoyed it” she noted.

The Combo exacted a small element of revenge with victory over Scariff-Ogonnelloe in the group stages. They have reached Saturday’s final unbeaten so far this year and Hehir feels having that form behind them is a real positive.

“We knew going into the group stages that we would have to put in good performances. It was a tough first game against Truagh-Clonlara and then we had Scariff-Ogonnelloe so we just broke it down and focused on performing as well as we could and seeing what would come of it. It was enough to get us into semi-final and while we were a bit hit and miss that, we came through it and it is a real testament to the girls that we came through that one after extra-time. They had such a never say die attitude that day even though some things did not go our way. We just kept the heads and kept plugging and got the win in the end” she said.

Hehir outlined that while it will be a familiar opponent on Saturday, past encounters will have no bearing on the outcome of the 2020 final.

“Every county final I have played in has been against Newmarket so there will be no love lost between the sides. It is going to be such a battle from the word go. Teams change a lot over the years and I can guarantee you that the team we played in that first final will be much different from the one we face on Saturday. We have had a good run in this campaign so far so it is just about building on each performance. We have the training done so we just need to produce a big performance on the day” she stated.

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