Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 8°C Thursday 25 February 2021

Kelly hoping for Banner breakthrough in Munster final

Gordon Kelly has not seen Clare compete in too many Munster football finals which makes next Sunday’s clash all the more significant.

Gordon Kelly:
Gordon Kelly: "It's a really exciting game for us."
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

GORDON KELLY DOES not have too many Munster senior football final memories involving Clare teams to draw on.

His recollection of the county’s epic triumph in 1992 is sketchy but he can recall the 1997 decider that was settled by the rocket that Kerry’s Pa Laide despatched to the top corner of the net and the 2000 final where Kerry won by a more comprehensive margin.

Now the Banner defender is prepare to savour the occasion first-hand in the 2012 instalment of the provincial final next Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds.

“It’s a really exciting game for us,” says the St Joseph’s Milltown-Malbay club man. “I can just about remember 1992 and Clare have lost their two finals since then. There’s a good bit of build-up amongst supporters but as a player you try to pull away from that and make sure you’re focused on the game. There’s point just qualifying for a final, you have to put in a performance as well.”

Last month’s semi-final win over Limerick propelled them to this stage and was an occasion to cherish for Kelly given that it served as a rare championship success. Firing the only goal of the game in the first-half created personal satisfaction as well.

“I’m playing seven years and that was only my second win. And that was my first ever championship goal as well, so it was a massive game. There was a good feeling after the game but that was mixed with a lot of relief as well. We had a great start but then lost our way. I think the fact that we won some tight games in the league, particularly against Carlow when we came back late on, stood to us.

“We had that belief to claim victory near the finish as we were able to think back to the league and know we could dig out a win when a game was going against us. David Tubridy, who’s one of the best kickers of the ball in the country, hit two super points to win it. The quality of points he kicks doesn’t surprise us at this stage.”

The complexion of Clare’s season has taken on a brighter hue after the setback they suffered in not claiming promotion from Division 4 of the league when suffering a last-day defeat against Wicklow.

“The mood was low after that defeat. We’d aimed to get promotion and we were very disappointed not to achieve that. If we lost to Limerick then, our season would have fallen apart. So it was a make or break game for us. We wanted to make sure we would get something out of 2012, especially with bonus of a championship draw that had us away from Cork and Kerry.

“It’s just fantastic to be in the final now. Two men from my own club, Martin Flynn and JJ Ryan, were involved in the Clare side that won in 1992. It’d be great to do what they did but it’s obviously a massive task against Cork. Still we’re hoping it’ll be a good day for Clare football.”

Wednesday Watch: The Seanie Saga and Daly’s Return

Munster final: Murphy making every second count

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

Read next: