Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
# Border Crossing
The Limerick native looking to fire Clare to victory in the All-Ireland semis
Pádraic Collins, 21, crossed the Clare-Limerick border as a youngster and has not looked back.

CLARE’S SEMI-FINAL showdown against Limerick will have a little extra spice for forward Pádraic Collins.

The Banner’s rising star continued his explosive summer form with four points from play against Galway last weekend and now he’s ready to renew acquaintances with some old friends.

Collins hails from Cratloe, just a few miles from the border which divides the hurling heartland into two fierce rivals, but he was born and raised in Limerick.

As a youngster he learned the basics at Na Piarsaigh, the club which now boasts David Breen, Shane Dowling and Kevin Downes in the Treatymen’s current senior squad.

That leaves him on a unique collision course when the neighbours meet in Croke Park on 18 August.

“I’m actually from Limerick,” Collins, 21, explains. “I lived there for eight years and actually played with Na Piarsaigh. It’s something to look forward to. Playing in Croke Park against Limerick will be a brilliant atmosphere.”

“I was eight when I moved out and was that age group so I think I played with Downes, Dowling and them. They were a step ahead of me at that age and maybe they still are. But we’ll get to play them now. There’ll be a good buzz in Croke Park now for it.”

Collins tries to get away from Wexford’s PJ Nolan (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

Though they blew past Galway to win by six points Clare’s summer has not been without its setbacks, and plenty of doubts were raised when they lost to Cork in the Munster semis.

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But they bounced back to beat both Laois and Wexford and Collins says that the win-or-bust mentality of the qualifiers helped sharpen their focus.

“Obviously we were very disappointed about the Cork game, we didn’t play our best. Cork 100% deserved it on the day.

“We’d no complaints about it but look, we felt we could have played better and given them a better game. If you lose you’re out now, so the knockout element helped us. I think our ratio was a lot of better in front of goal. I don’t know how many wides we hit but I don’t think we hit a lot.”

He added: “I suppose the Wexford game [in Phase 3] really helped. We stamped our dominance on that game and went seven points up but then let it slip. I suppose it showed us you cannot lose your focus for two seconds.”

Son of legendary stopper John O’Leary with Nirvana Nevermind salute to Dubs