*Clare’s Daniel Walsh. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

For the first time in over a decade Coolmeen’s Cathal O’Connor won’t be travelling to Fraher Field in Dungarvan on this Saturday as a member of the Clare senior football panel.

After delivering numerous outstanding performances for his beloved county throughout the past decade, he called time on his inter-county career at the end of last season.

That decision didn’t, of course, dampen his interest but he admits that he will “miss it and it will be different”.

While confident that Clare will win he noted, “Waterford have given Clare trouble in Fraher Field in the past. In the year that the late Páidí Ó Sé was in charge they turned us over in Fraher Field”. Incidentally that was the year before Cathal got called up to the panel.

“It’s amazing what a win can do for confidence and Waterford will have got confidence from their victory over Tipperary. They will be flying high and will be playing in front of their home supporters and will want to do well. Clare must make sure that their approach is right and if they play to their potential I believe they will win”, he said.

Whoever wins on Saturday will secure a place in the Munster final. “Being involved in the Munster final is a great occasion. Munster finals don’t come around too often. We were there last year and while things didn’t go our way, it was great to be involved”.

A winner of two Clare SHC medals with Ballyea, Cathal said the county were unlucky not to win promotion to Division 2 in the Allianz National Football League. “Clare did well in the league, they have done better than what many predicted. Despite having lost a number of players to retirements they still have a very good spine to the team. The new lads that have come in have done well. They have played some great stuff and might well have been promoted”.

Victory at Fraher Field on Saturday evening not only leads to a Munster final date but also guarantees competing for the Sam Maguire cup. “Everyone wants to play for the Sam Maguire cup and that is a huge incentive on Saturday. It’s very important to get a victory in Dungarvan”, according to the man who continues to be a key player with his club Coolmeen who have won their opening three games in this season’s league.

“Support for Clare is crucial. There is a loyal band of diehards who follow the team everywhere and I believe they will be there on Saturday to cheer the team on to what I believe will be a second successive Munster final appearance,” Cathal concluded.

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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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