*Ciaran Downes gets away from Darragh Bolton. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CIARAN DOWNES was a cut above when it came to the class on show during Saturday’s intermediate final.

Not alone did he kick 0-6 of Kilmihil’s 1-13 tally, two of which came from play but he was menacing when in possession, always bringing a spark to proceedings and when the ball fell to him the crowd knew something was going to happen or at least had the potential of danger or joy, depending on which team you were supporting.

One such instance saw him get gather possession, run in front of the Kilrush dugout whilst in possession, stay patient and composed to allow for Dan Keating to be an outlet, Keating then demonstrated quick hands and good hearing to push Gearoid O’Grady through and he tucked a low effort past Stephen Ryan for their only goal on twenty three minutes.

Reflecting back on the vital green flag, Ciaran said, “Gearoid has been threatening for goals all year long, he got one in the semi-finals with the same thing running from deep, he got us goal there, he is a super player and is always running and taking on lads, without him we might not have won the game today, thankfully we have him in the team”.

Elements were utilised effectively by Kilmihil, Downes felt. “Kilrush gave it right to the wire, they have a never die attitude and you could see it there when they got the goal it raised the whole stand and the crowd, we thought we were in big trouble but thankfully with the small breeze we had it was what got us over the line in the end. Thanks be to God we’re back up to senior next year”.

A clear indicator of how they did this was the fact that they were level at half-time despite playing against the strong wind. As they took refuge in the dressing rooms of Shanahan McNamara Memorial Park, the message from the Kilmihil camp was simple. “It was just to keep the scoreboard ticking, we knew we had to go out and get a goal, we had to keep the scoreboard going, keep kicking the ball over the bar and keep our scores ticking, thankfully we just managed to do that,” he stated.

Having been part of the side to experience the devastation of relegation last year, the turnaround in emotions was something to embrace, the final year mechanical engineering student noted. “Hopefully we can push on for next year and hold onto a couple of lads that might think about going travelling to help us go for a big push next year. We’ve a lot of good underage talent so hopefully we will push on”.

He told The Clare Echo, “It was our first aim to bounce back up again, we know it is not easy, we’ve seen teams in the past who have gone down, their first job is to get back up again and they haven’t succeeded, it gives measurement to all the boys we are training with and thankfully we got the job done”.

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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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