*Ard Scoil Rís joint captains, Fintan Fitzgerald and Sean McMahon. 

CUSACK PARK hosts the Dr Harty Cup final on Saturday at 1pm with plenty of Clare involvement in the Ard Scoil Rís ranks.

Sean McMahon of Smith O’Briens is joint captain of the side at full-back. For their semi-final win over Thurles CBS, a total of ten Clare players lined out including McMahon, Cratloe quartet Marc O’Brien, Jamie Moylan and Rian McNamara, Clonlara trio Michael Collins, Diarmuid Stritch and Eoin Begley plus Sixmilebridge duo Matthew O’Halloran and Daniel Chaplin.

Newmarket-on-Fergus’ Sean Arthur and Cratloe’s Daire Neville are among those pushing for game-time with Sixmilebridge’s Jack Lee, Niall Liddane, Don Whitty and Paddy O’Reilly part of the panel along with Cathal Lohan of Cratloe

Former Clare senior hurling coach Liam Cronin is manager of the Ard Scoil side, he will also coach the Éire Óg senior hurlers this season. Clare hurler Paul Flanagan and Clooney/Quin’s Derek Larkin form part of the management.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, joint captain McMahon noted the quality within their panel as a key strength. “There’s lads on our bench with All-Ireland minor medals so there is huge competition for places, training is intense every day with everyone hunting and fighting for a place, it’s a great squad to be a part of and there is a huge bond, we’ve been friends for six years”.

“There is a good environment around the training camp, we want everyone going at 100 percent so if you make a mistake you can recover. There’s lads going for each other in training and there is good intensity”. He continued, “We’ve a quality team and quality players but the determination and hard work that has been put in, the unseen things and unselfish work of working off each other is what we pride ourselves on, that is our main factor”.

It is a busy week for McMahon who starts his mock Leaving Certificate examinations on Thursday, “I’ll have to put the head down but I’m looking forward to Saturday,” the eighteen year old admitted. No special dispensation has been handed out for exams on Thursday and Friday, he quipped, “Not from the teachers but from ourselves maybe, Saturday is the main focus, it’s a distraction to keep our mind off Saturday”.

Having been captain of the side at Dean Ryan level, Sean was “delighted” to be tasked with the role once again. “I like to do what I do and get everyone involved in communicating on the field,” the defender said.

Looking back on their closely fought semi-final win over Thurles CBS, Sean reflected, “We had a super start, a super first half and Thurles CBS who are a brilliant team, they came back into it and got the lead, we were lucky enough that Marc O’Brien hit three super frees to win the game for us, we were delighted to get over the line but it could have went either way”.

Ard Scoil are chasing their sixth Harty Cup title. “It would be known in the last few years to be achieving highly but hurling is a side-part because there’s rugby and hockey, there’s high standards and expectations for us but we like to hold ourselves to those standards,” Sean said.

Well-wishes have extended as far as Killaloe for Sean in advance of Saturday. “When I went in back in first year there was a bit of a shock as the first Killaloe man to come into Ard Scoil but there’s a nice buzz around the village and everyone is wishing me the best of luck, that is what you do it for, the friends and family”.

Getting to play the final in Cusack Park is a welcome surprise for McMahon, “I’m delighted it’s on in Cusack Park, I love The Park and all the Clare lads are delighted, it’s a beautiful field and a nice atmosphere there, Ennis is always good for a bit of a buzz”.

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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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