*Matthew O’Halloran (centre) flanked by Jack Mescal, Ógie Fanning, James Hegarty and Eoghan Gunning. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

MATTHEW O’HALLORAN has spoken of his immense pride at getting to follow in the footsteps of his father by tasting All-Ireland glory with Clare.

In the lead-up to the All-Ireland minor hurling final, Matthew joked at how his father Michael made him watch the 1995 senior final between Clare and Offaly over a hundred times.

Now Matthew is already on the case to try source a video of the minor decider to iniaite the payback. “Maybe a thousand times, we’ll see,” he quipped on the amount of times he’ll offer to put the video on in the O’Halloran household.

Joking aside, the Ard Scoil Rís student then paid tribute to his father who is a current selector with Sixmilebridge’s senior hurlers for the positive influence he has been in his career. “It’s a brilliant feeling, it’s probably the best day of my life, I’m so proud to follow in his footsteps, it’s savage”.

Both of the O’Hallorans shared a moment on the field at Semple Stadium as Clare supporters defied the instructions to stay off hallowerd turf. “I was trying to listen as Eoghan was collecting the cup and he ambushed me, it was a great feeling, this is what you grow up dreaming of”.

He can now be described as the utility man of the panel given that he has adapted to playing at midfield and half-back during their campaign but the latest twist came at half-time when he deployed to full back after Ronan Keane was forced off with injury.

With Keane struggling with a hamstring injury in the lead up to the final, members of the Clare management had tipped Matthew off that he could be featuring in a new role. “The coaches said that I was the versatility man and if anything went wrong they would stick me in, I was prepared for something. We did it for Trigger (Ronan Keane), he has been our talisman all year so we did it for him”.

Although Clare conceded four goals against Galway, the highest amount they have shipped all year, they admirably responded each time to a setback and were the better team over the hour. “It shows the resilience we have in this group, I can’t take much credit for that, the boys out the field and Eoghan, Mark, Ronan they all played their part, it’s brilliant to be a part of”.

Conditions in the searing heat of Thurles made things testing in the early exchanges, he admitted. “The first fifteen minutes were very difficult but we got used to it after that, we did what we had to do”.

Reflecting on their run, Matthew remarked, “It’s been a brilliant journey, I’m sad for it to end but I’m glad we ended it like this, I’m over the moon”.

 

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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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