“A titanic battle with no quarter spared” was how outstanding Clare defender Paul Flanagan described Sunday’s draw with Limerick.
According to the Ballyea clubman, it was “brilliant to see such a big Clare contingent today. It’s massive to have games in Ennis”.
He told The Clare Echo, “We have put in a lot of work building gradually. The games against Tipperary and Cork in the opening rounds were really good building blocks for us and we got a lot of good learnings from those games. We are looking forward to the next couple of weeks,” Flanagan who was a member of the management team which led Ard Scoil Ris to a first Croke cup colleges success earlier this year said.
Paul’s own first cousin Seamus lined out in the Limerick full-forward line where he was marked by Rory Hayes with the Clare Flanagan tasked with marking Conor Boylan. “That’s what makes the GAA really good, you go toe to toe and it will be the same next week,” he observed while referencing the great rivalry and a lot of connections between the hurling teams representing the neighbouring counties.
A Munster Final place has been secured and Flanagan believes Clare will get stronger with players returning from injury. “We take every game on its merits. With the squad we have at the moment, guys are really pushing each other in training and every night you go in it’s a real challenge. We have quality players back with more lads coming back. It’s a good place and where we want to be, keeping lads injury free and so on, we are looking forward to the next few weeks”.
His clubmate, Tony Kelly gave an exceptional display finishing with 0-16 to his name, this was acknowledged by Flanagan along with the contribution of the entire team. “He is a great leader, Tony is aware that the work of the forward unit as a whole is massive to that happening. A good sign that the forwards are working as hard as they are and that helps us at the back”.