Cathal O’Connor. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
FRESH FROM WINNING a second Clare SHC medal with Ballyea, county footballer Cathal O’Connor gave his take on this weekend’s meeting between Éire Óg and Ennistymon.
Ennistymon’s style of play could cause an upset but O’Connor believed Éire Óg are in a stronger position now than when they faced Kilmurry Ibrickane in the 2021 decider. “It is hard to look past Eire Og for the football title. They have built on last year, they look to be a step ahead but Ennistymon, to be fair, have a rigid system and there is no reason why they can’t throw a spanner on the works. Last year’s win was a monkey off the back of Éire Óg”.
O’Connor played a vital role for Ballyea scoring 0-02 off the bench as they claimed back to back hurling titles. The defeat could affect Éire Óg in a positive fashion, he acknowledged. “The defeat in the hurling could drive them on, nobody wants to be on the team to lose two in a week. I believe they had a get together on Monday night. Last week is marked now and they will be fairly focused on Sunday’s game. They have a seriously experienced group, they will be able to move on and take on the challenge”.
Underage success has strengthened the belief of Ennistymon, the Coolmeen native said. “You have to play what works, Ennistymon won’t make any apologies for their style once they keep winning, you play to your strengths. No one in Ennistymon will complain if it’s a low scoring game if they win by a point. They have done brilliantly at underage level, they have a serious crop of players, they just need to get over the line and make the breakthrough at senior. They will be up against it on Sunday but. Final day can go either way. Hopefully it will be a good game”.
“It’s a two horse race and we don’t know what kind of a day it will be. It takes a good team to knock out Kilmurry and Ennistymon are there on merit,” he added.
Verdict: Éire Óg