Everyone will tell you that reaching a county final with your club is a very special moment, but for Miltown’s Seanie Malone the 2019 showpiece will be that little bit sweeter.
The former county man is back on the starting 15 after enduring a nightmare 12 months that saw him miss out on Miltown’s march to the Munster club football final. A knee injury saw him sidelined until his sides win over Ennistymon in the decider, and while he did see action in the closing stages of that game, it proved to be a costly few minutes.
“Last year was pretty horrific. I got back from injury for the final and came on toward the end but ended up breaking a bone in my foot which ruled me out of the Munster campaign. I got back this year for the last of the group games and I had a few issues with injuries at the start of the year with my other knee this time. I got back for the game with Naomh Eoin-O’Curry’s and came through that and have thankfully stayed on the right road since. Training is going well at the moment so just hoping now that I don’t jinx it and pick up another knock along the way. I did my cartilage on the knee before the Cusack Cup final so I missed out on that along with the first two rounds of the group stages. I had an operation and was out for six or eight weeks with that so it was just a bad run of luck. It is hard to be on the line watching when you are so used to being involved with the lads over the last few years and then to miss out on the big days is tough. The lads are great because they would always make you feel like you are part of it but it is that bit extra special to be back playing this year” he stated.
With a club steeped in tradition like St Joseph’s Miltown, support is never going to be thin on the ground. There is one that will be willing her father on to victory along with Seanie’s partner Orlagh Flanagan, as 18 month old Fiadh Malone will be donning the claret and gold.
He said: “It gives you a different perspective on life and football I think. After the game on Sunday, whatever way it goes, Fiadh won’t be too bother when I come home and she will still want to be playing and having the laugh with you so that is a great distraction to have to be honest with you. Football is not the be all and end all behind it all. I might be able to pick her out in the crowd with the jersey on but that is only if she will stay still. She is on the move now so she will be doing well to watch a bit of it but it will be lovely to have her there on the day”.
The excitement and tension is building in both parishes is building ahead of one the most highly anticipated showdowns in recent years. Malone feels while players can’t get too wrapped in it, it is important to embrace the occasion at the same time.
“For the supporters and neutrals the build up will be special but as players we just have to focus on the job that we have to do. We say how good Kilmurry were in their win over Cratloe so we can only allow ourselves to think about them and the challenge that will be. Everywhere you go you are going to meet people who want to talk about it and it is only right that you give the time to do that because they follow football too and love it as much as we do. It is hard to block it out totally in the lead up but I don’t think it will matter much once the whistle blows on Sunday. Once the game gets underway, all that will go to the back of the head. It is important to enjoy these occasions. I always tend to look up at the crowd now and again just to get a sense of the occasion. You can try to block it out to a certain extent but you have to take these days on merit too and enjoy them for what they are. Anything can happen in a derby game and particularly in a final and I really don’t think there will be a kick of a ball in it. I know there is great rivalry there been ourselves and Kilmurry but once the final whistle goes, that will be that and we will shake hands and meet up for a pint on the Monday and move on” he noted.