The line-up for this year’s Clare Cup final will be completed this weekend with both last four ties down for decision.
Clare Cup Semi-Final: Kilmaley v Broadford (Saturday at 2pm in Newmarket)
Kilmaley and Broadford go head to head this weekend for a place in the 2019 Clare Cup Final with both sides enjoying a strong run of form coming into the game.
Kilmaley finished top of Division 1A to seal their place in the last four with John Carmody’s charges losing just one of their nine group stage games. That reversal came in their second round tie against Clonlara, meaning Kilmaley are now seven games undefeated ahead of their showdown with the south-east Clare men.
Manager John Carmody is happy with how his squad are progressing so far in 2019.
“We are pleased with the league campaign and finishing top of Division 1A showed a level of consistency and we have the benefit now of a bonus game as we move closer to the championship. It is all about championship really and that is coming on us now so any games between now and then you are looking for lads to hit form and put their hands up for a jersey” he noted.
Broadford are enjoying a strong run of form themselves after they also suffered just one defeat to seal top spot in Division 1B. Their final group game came against Ballyea in which it took a last ditch Tony Kelly penalty to rescue a point for the county champions. They followed that up with an impressive win over Clonlara to seal their place in the last four and Carmody knows that they will not get anything easy.
“Broadford were exceptional against Clonlara I felt and they have some really exciting forward talent too. It is going to take a huge performance from us if we are going to turn them over at the weekend” he warned.
While Kilmaley have a plethora of underage talent in recent times, their squad is being tested at the moment with a number of injury concerns and players overseas. Carmody feels that opens the door for others to put their name in the melting pot.
“We still have a good panel of players and they are all eager be involved and they all want to play with championship just around the corner. I am sure that means on Saturday evening that anyone who gets game time will be working hard to put their hand up for a starting number in the championship and that is what it is all about. We are going there to win and the benefit of getting to a Clare Cup final and getting that experience and extra competitive game would be great” he noted.
Meanwhile Broadford boss Tom Howard is hopeful his side can continue on their upward curve as they look forward to another tilt at intermediate championship glory.
The Division 1B table toppers will be in confident mood after their victory over Clonlara last time out but Howard is warning that no one is getting carried away with results to date.
“We tend to take every game as it comes but we are fortunate that we had an undisrupted league campaign because we had no lads with the county set-up. It was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of performance and we managed to get as far as the Clonlara game. We gave it our best shot on the night and they were short a few bodies and we managed to win it. We will be looking forward to the Kilmaley game in the same light. It is not about winning the Clare Cup for Broadford. It is all about the prep work for championship and making sure we are right for that. I can imagine it is seen in the same way with Kilmaley. They had a few lads away with county squads and they are probably only getting their team together now and will see this as a chance to have a look at them prior to championship. It is a great bonus for us to have this game and it is great to have these games before the championship gets underway. It is ideal for us at this time of year to be playing teams like that and it is exactly the kind of p preparation you would want” he said.
Broadford have been scoring heavily across the campaign to date, and only failed to find the net once in their ten games so far this year. That shutout came in their last group game against Ballyea, but they made up for it with a Shane Taylor hat-trick in their quarter-final win over Clonlara. Howard admits while their scoring return has been pleasing, they need to work harder on keeping the scoring down at the other end of the pitch.
“Broadford are a talented group and we have good forwards. They are good hurling forwards and maybe that marks us apart from other rural clubs in that we have good scoring forwards. The other side of that is when you go through the records from our games, we are also conceding quite a bit. While it is good to have the positive side of what we are doing, we are also giving away too many scores so with championship almost upon us, they are the kind of things we will be looking to tighten up on” he noted.