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A return to Croke Park is one Patrick O’Connor and his Clare teammates have been “craving”.

“We’ve been craving getting back to Croke Park and we’ve come up short on a number of occasions and we’re back there now. Wexford were always going to get their purple patch on it, how we reacted would tell the story of the game and that’s how it happened. The boys kept plugging away up front, winning balls they had no right to win and that’s what ultimately made the difference,” the Clare captain said following their quarter-final win.

How the Banner reacted to losing a successive provincial final is one that pleased the corner back. “I can’t say enough about the lads and how they’ve responded since the Munster Final, that was a bitterly disappointing result and it knocked us for a while but it’s out of the system now”.

Galway stand in Clare’s way of reaching an All-Ireland final, the Tubber man has plenty of knowledge on several of their team having went to secondary school in Gort. “It’s close from home for me, Adrian Tuohy is only a couple of miles up the road and Aidan Harte, Johnny Glynn, I went to school with all of them but absolutely delighted to get a shot at the All-Ireland champions. What a team they are, to get into a purely hurling spectacle they’re a great team to watch and seem to be a really tight unit and we’re delighted to get a crack at them”.

O’Connor was a regular starter under Davy Fitzgerald’s tenure as Clare boss, he applauded the behaviour of the Sixmilebridge during a difficult seventy minutes. “I know two of his biggest passions in life are winning and Clare, there was no way he could do both today, it was either going to be beating Clare or losing himself, a tough day for him but I think he handled himself admirably”.

*Photo: Martin Connolly

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