Such has been the huge turnover of players in the past few seasons that when Ennistymon take to the field on Sunday, there is likely to only be four survivors from the 19 that contested the club’s first ever senior decider in 2018.
To put things in even clearer perspective, take out those four and the remaining eleven would struggle to match the evergreen Lawrence Healy’s vast experience in what is his 24th season playing adult football.
The versatile defender, who also starred for Clare between 2006-2013, is almost taken aback at the ease of assimilation for Ennistymon’s bright new crop of teenage talent this year but also feels it’s that fresh injection of energy and enthusiasm which has catapulted the North Clare side back into a senior showdown.
“The turnover from the last final is huge but I guess these younger players have consistently played at such a high level, winning minor As, playing for their county and contesting Munster and All-Ireland Finals with their school.
“So it’s that high quality that have seen them transition into senior level so quickly, much quicker that I ever expected anyway and it’s really great to have such a crop of quality players emerging through.
“It’s the maturity levels that are most impressive. I suppose six of them played in that All-Ireland Schools Final last year and those lads just don’t know when they’re beaten. Nothing seems to faze them, even the last day against Kilmurry Ibrickane and all the drama of extra-time and penalties, they were probably the calmest guys on the field.”
Healy’s final quarter introduction was also a noteworthy boost of composure at the back but while it was his first taste of senior action in 2022, he wasn’t short on big match experience.
“I was happy with how I played when I came on but I had five very good intermediate championship games under my belt so I felt confident coming on and obviously I was also fresh and able to contribute.”
The second string’s meteoric rise to an intermediate semi-final in only their first season allied to the seniors’ return to the final is hardly coincidental.
However, while Healy and Co. are hoping for a velvet revolution on Sunday against reigning champions Éire Óg, the one lesson that he learned from 2018 is that you have to seize the day when it comes to rare county final appearances.
“I felt that we did turn up in 2018, it’s just that we missed too many scoring chances and we need to turn up again on Sunday and maybe this time take that extra step and hopefully learn from 2018.
“Overall, you have to live for the moment, go all in for it and grasp this opportunity because who knows what’s going to happen next year or the year after.”