*Podge Collins on the attack for Clare. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

HE SACRIFICED his honeymoon to line out with Clare’s senior footballers as they booked their passage to the Munster final and All-Ireland SFC and Podge Collins said it was worth it to qualify for a first provincial decider with the county’s footballers.

Cratloe’s Podge was part of the county senior football panel in 2012 before making the decision to join the Davy Fitzgerald managed hurling squad that year where he made his championship debut.

As a result of leaving the football panel on that occasion, he missed out on lining out in the Munster SFC final that year when the Micheál McDermott managed footballers lost out to Cork. For his efforts on the hurling field, he won an All-Ireland SHC medal in 2013 plus an All Star, seasons as a dual-star followed before concentrating fully on football from 2020 onwards.

Getting the opportunity to play in the Munster Final is something he had been aspiring to for a long time. “It was mentioned a good bit during the week by different lads (to qualify for All-Ireland series) but I just wanted to play in the Munster final, even if we lost today I think the Tailteann Cup is a great competition, obviously we wanted to win big time but there was more motivation to get into a Munster final for me”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Podge admitted it was “definitely” worth missing the honeymoon to the Algarve to feature in a Munster semi-final in the Gaelic Grounds, he married Ellen Roche earlier this month. “I can go on honeymoon when I’m forty but while I’m old enough to play I’ll try keep playing”.

Podge’s absence for the honeymoon meant Ellen’s sister Aoife got the call-up. He was confident his sister-in-law would show her gratitude for getting to take his place by the pool. “She better have got me a nice present, they just flew in before the game to get to this, I’m sure I’ll get a lovely present”.

Reflecting on his own display, Podge was critical in his self-evaluation. “Personally I had a few frees against me with possession and a few turnovers, you’ll always be disappointed with that any day you go out because you don’t want to turn over the ball, unfortunately today I had a few of them so I’d be disappointed with myself, I had a few mistakes which is obviously disappointing but some lads really stepped up, Keelan was excellent, defensively Cillian Rouine was very strong, Ciaran Russell was super and kept getting forward he has some engine, the lads that came on really held possession well Mark McInerney, Gavin and Ikem did great.

“Keelan was obviously class today, he got 1-03 or 1-04 from play, he took on shots that he probably had no right to take on, he’d get given out to in training for taking them on but he scored them, some lads really stepped up which is the main thing, we got the result and I’m delighted”.

Though he may have been overly harsh on himself, Podge as ever clocked up among the highest tally of miles on the Clare team, delivering another workmanlike display which saw him cover plenty of grass.

He felt a colleague from Cooraclare would question the observation that he had the highest kilometres ran on the field of play. “Pearse Lillis would have something to say about that because he gets around. I pride myself on workrate and stuff like that, I also pride myself on keeping the ball but today I had two frees against me in possession and then another turnover, you don’t want to be doing that no matter how much running you’re doing, you want to have results and get on the end of scores, I had no shots off today, I had one free outside the scoring zone so you can run all you want but what you’re doing with the ball is important, it wasn’t my best performance but it doesn’t matter because the team got the result, we’ve a Munster final to look forward to and that’s the main thing.

“When you see the fixtures, you’ve Cork and if you win Limerick away and then a Munster final, they’re tough and it was always going to be a challenge, the league ended disappointingly but we’re delighted today”.

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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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