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AS SUPPORTERS pushed their way through the crowds to extend congratulations, Cathal O’Connor wore a broad smile.

The Clare senior inter county football midfielder of the past decade had just contributed two points to help Ballyea to victory and win his first Clare senior hurling championship medal.

Having played underage hurling with the club, the Coolmeen clubman had concentrated on football with club and county for much of the past decade before returning to hurling this summer

“In my wildest dreams I could not have envisaged this. They had asked me to play over the past few years but for different reasons I had said no. This year I said that if I didn’t do it I’d never do it and thanks be to God that I said yes, I’d give it a go while I could. It’s a great way to finish the year”.

Continuing he said “it’s unreal. Any day you win a championship is unbelievable but to win it the way we did, coming from behind. It was an unreal feeling at the end”.

A scorer of 0-02, O’Connor felt Ballyea “were wasteful enough in possession and I had hit a number of those wides while we hit a number of balls down on top of their sweeper. We stuck in there like we have all year and ground it out by a point. It’s not over till the final whistle”.

Leaders stood up when they needed to, Cathal stressed. “We have unbelievable leaders all through the middle, Jack, Paul, Gary, Deasy, Pierce, all stood up, everyone was brilliant the defence was unreal. It was a wonderful team performance”.

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