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*Doora/Barefield’s Jack Hannan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

St Josephs Doora/Barefield’s footballers have the potential to grow into a real force at senior level if the current crop of players can stick together.

Last year’s intermediate champions reached the quarter-finals of the Clare SFC in their first campaign back in the top tier and their manager, Kevin Frehill believes their tag as one of the top eight teams in the county is certainly justified.

He said, “Our expectations changed as the year went on and as we started getting more experience in games, we started lifting the bar a bit higher from what we were seeing from the players and the way they were reacting. From watching other teams, I feel we are as good and have as good as players as any other team has, the age profile is excellent so I think if it is a team that stay together that can do good things in the next couple of years”.

Conceding a goal at the start of the final quarter played a massive part in their exit when going down to Lissycasey in the quarter-finals, Frehill felt. “The goal was instrumental alright, it is such a good time to get a goal in a game, it’s hard to recover from that, then mistakes just happened for us, they tagged on one or two more points but it can’t be all about us, you have to say Lissycasey have that extra bit of experience and toughness, they went toe to toe with Kilmurry Ibrickane last year, I’d be very shocked if they’re not right in the mix to win this year, we’ll take a little solace from that but not much”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, The Parish boss referenced their inability to hit the back of the net as a significant factor in the outcome of the match. “We had some excellent periods in the game, I thought we really dominated the third quarter, we really pinned them into their half and outscored them to bring it back to a point, we were really positive going into the last break but it’s just sport and the goal went for them and all we can say is we didn’t rattle a goal ourselves so we have no qualms at the end of the day, that’s the way it went for us”.

Frehill is hopeful Doora/Barefield will make further inroads next year. “The key is keeping the players together, getting buy-in and keeping them all interested. We’ve had a little bit of a luxury in a way with COVID keeping people around, it has made training really excellent, we’ve had huge numbers, great participation and buy-in, it’s a challenge next year when lads start getting back to their normal lives to keep that going, it’s as tough as part of the job as anything when you’re managing”.

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