Wolfe Tones will be hoping to keep the wagon rolling this weekend when they square off once more with Kildysart in the Clare U-21B football final.
The Shannon men mounted a rousing comeback to beat a strong Miltown side in an extra-time thriller last Saturday to reach back to back finals where they will defend their title.
Selector Frank Casey feels it is a great achievement to reach this stage once more.
“We are delighted to be back into the final again this year and it is the same pairing again. We set out at the start of this year with a very young panel. We only have two or three lads that will be overage next year and we started the semi-final against Miltown with six minors on the field so it is a real positive from our point of view to be back in the final again. From last year’s team, we lost four so that shows how young a team we had then too. We are trying to make strides in the club and we know that we are in a rebuilding process down there at adult level and that has to start from underage to bring lads through. We are starting to produce a couple of decent underage teams again so the key for us is to keep them coming forward and keep them interested so getting to occasions like a county final, which we have on Saturday, will only improve them further” he said.
It has been something of whirlwind championship for the club with two tight victories to date. Casey feels his side have shown great heart to dig out two big results.
He said: “Our first game was against Cratloe which was a real local derby. All the lads knew each other and there was plenty banter flying around before it. We started poorly in it but managed to dig in for the second half which allowed us to turn the game around and just get over the line. At half-time then against Miltown there were a few things we were not happy about so we made one or two positional switches and they really worked well. We told them at half-time that we hadn’t played well but were still only the few points down. We knew if we produced the football we produced that day against Cratloe, we were well capable of getting back into it. They just had to stay patient and stay doing what they were doing. They never panicked and really dug it out. I thought for young lads, they showed great maturity”.
It is a fourth final meeting in the last three years between Kildysart and Wolfe Tones. They clashed in a minor final in 2017 before two epic games in 2018 saw the Shannon men come out on top after a replay. Casey knows more will be needed to repeat the trick.
“There is plenty rivalry between these two and it even goes back a minor final that we met them in three years ago. We know all about them but they know all about us too so there will be no great secrets between the teams. We have great respect for Kildysart because there is always a good honest game with them so there is a great buzz there and we are really looking forward to Saturday. We know ourselves that we will not get away with starting slowly against them because they will punish us if we do. We have a few knocks after last weekend that we will be monitoring but hopefully the momentum from that win can carry us over the line again” he concluded.