*Ennistymon captain, Cillian Rouine clears his lines. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
CLAIMING THEIR first ever Cusack Cup title is “a significant achievement” for Ennistymon’s senior footballers.
They were the words of a proud manager, Ennistymon Mark Shanahan but also the views held by gaelic football pundits across Clare as they garnered their first taste of success at this level.
A 0-10 0-08 win saw Ennistymon dethrone rivals St Breckan’s and take the FutureTicketing Cusack Cup under their mantle.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, the victorious Ennistymon boss remarked of the win, “It is significant insofar as when the split season came it created a big difference between league and championship. Considering the panel of players we had to pick from all year, it is a significant achievement to say we could win the league, it doesn’t have a massive relevance to the championship but in our minds to get that senior win and to win it in its own right considering the panel we’ve had for it all year, it is a significant achievement”.
To collect the first bit of silverware at senior will aid their challenge for further honours. “It’s nice, it’s a good thing. You’re always thinking about the championship but this evening is about the Cusack Cup and paying it due respect, we’re delighted to win it”.
It will serve as ideal preparation for championship, he maintained, “One thing that I’ve noticed over the last couple of years with circumstances for different counties, trying to get challenge matches is a nightmare, we’ve had two competitive games so yeah it has been good in that regard definitely”.
Strength in depth was certainly applicable for last year’s beaten Clare SFC finalists, with a panel of 42 they certainly had to plunge into the reserves and lined out with just seven starters from that county final defeat to Éire Óg.
“We’ve 42 lads on the panel, we’ve so many and we had to delve into our reserves and into our second panel. Even the fact our second team got to the Division 3 semi-final considering we were taking from them so that was another achievement when you think about it that way, all in all we’ve a decent panel of lads there. They are a delight to be with, there’s no managing in them, they turn up every night and give their heart to training, they turn up every day and give their all, they do that repeatedly, they are a real pleasure to deal with”.
Survival never mind Cusack Cup glory was the focus from the outset but it was definitely the case following the opening four rounds but they turned their campaign around with a series of wins propelling them into the semi-finals where they produced a very impressive display against Clondegad, “we were very good that evening, today was a local derby and is always going to be a tense affair, we got there in the end”.
Mark admitted, “The semi-final or final wasn’t on our radar five weeks ago, it was about staying up but one thing we’re building is wicked resilience, we stuck in the league and we stuck in games, we were competitive and then we got our rewards by staying in there, results went our way, we got to a semi-final which is bonus territory, they saw an opportunity and they took it”.