*Patrick Donnellan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

WHEN O’Callaghans Mills clubman Patrick Donnellan lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup following Clare’s All-Ireland final replay win over Cork back in September 2013, Clare fans were confident that many titles would be added in the ensuing decade.

While Clare teams have delivered many memorable performances since then there have been no titles won at senior championship level, the county reaching five Munster finals and three All-Ireland semi-finals since then.

Agonising narrow defeats there have been plenty of and most of these have been inflicted by the Banner’s great rivals and near neighbours, Limerick.

For the third year in a row they clash in the Munster final on this Sunday and Clare’s All-Ireland winning captain from eleven years ago is eagerly looking forward to the clash.

“They have met in the last few finals, all their meetings in recent times have been classics really, close and exciting. That’s the way it has panned out with Cork showing late form. It’s great for both counties and the rivalry has built up of the last few years”, Pat told The Clare Echo this week.

That said, he was quick to point out “Limerick are winning most of the games and they will be favourites going into Sunday’s final. They have the subs and they seem to be able to get over whatever hiccups appear. Clare have shown good form in patches and they will be trying to get a consistent performance over eighty minutes on Sunday while also hoping to get more out of lads coming back from injury like Tony (Kelly) and Davy Mac (McInerney). They will have to make sure that they match Limerick’s intensity”.

Pat believes that “both teams would have been eyeing each other up since the start of the year. To be fair they would have seeing each other as the two strongest in Munster at present. Clare have matched Limerick for the most part. They will have been disappointed with the result in the first round this year. They were going well and let Limerick back into that game”.

Donnellan continued, “Clare have a settled team but everyone performing well for a full eighty minutes is key as well as getting more from lads who haven’t had much game time. They have been in the last few finals, they won the league and they are well versed on what is needed and they know what they are doing. They are really exciting to watch. I hope they express themselves, embrace the day and give us a really good game”.

Commenting on the outstanding form been shown by Shane O’Donnell, the O’Callaghans Mills clubman said “SOD doesn’t need to prove anything. He is a team player and a goal getter. Limerick will be aware of that. We will need six forwards, two midfielders and our half backs pitching in with scores. Diarmuid Ryan has been getting forward a bit more in recent games. Making sure there are multiple threats in areas is the only way to beat teams.

“We must have the ability to read the game as one or two performing won’t do it. We must test Limerick in all sectors of the field, their forwards are good. We must apply fierce pressure all around the field and make sure we are performing in all areas”, he concluded.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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