*Scariff Ogonnelloe captain, Mairead Scanlan
Scariff/Ogonnelloe have had the dream campaign from winning their first county senior championship to matching it with a provincial equivalent, sixty minutes on Sunday will decide if they can progress to the All-Ireland final.
Their base of supporters has built with every milestone reached, signs are decked out across the two parishes. “It’s a nice place to be, I don’t feel any pressure, the lads try keep distance from us and the talk that is going on. It adds a little bit of expectation but it’s a nice expectation but we’ve brought such happiness so we know it’s all good and that everyone is behind us, it’s a nice feeling,” captain Mairead Scanlan told The Clare Echo.
“We’re mad for road, training has been going unreal, everyone is excited, there is a real buzz there, everyone is so relaxed, people are working really hard and really want to be on the team, everyone is pushing everyone, we know what’s at stake. Getting to an All-Ireland final would be absolutely class and something we wouldn’t have thought of, we’re going all out to get there”.
At centre forward, the Limerick based accountant has been to the fore in the East Clare’s side run to the last four in Ireland. On Sunday in Co Meath, they face their biggest test yet in the guise of three in a row All-Ireland champions, Slaughtneil. “We’re expecting a massive battle, they are going for four in a row, to win three in a row they obviously have serious hunger and desire. We know they play a running game with real intensity, they are a small parish so they’re really tight, we’ve done a little bit of work in training on their game”.
Mairead referenced their workate as being key to causing an upset at the weekend. “We’ve a serious set of backs but the forwards are working like backs, we’re not thinking about results or who scores, everyone works super hard for every ball which makes us a very hard team to beat, we know the skill is there. The workrate is nearly contagious, everyone is talking about it and we feel we’re living up to our reputation, girls are working like dogs in training, there is never a lull at this stage”.
She was a regular in the county side in the year gone but Scanlan admitted it is unlikely she will return to Ger O’Connell’s Clare panel when their club run comes to an end. For now, focus is fully on the weekend ahead where they will bring with them a huge East Clare backing.
“I’m a bit more insulated from the build-up because I’m living in Limerick, I’d be more relaxed than some of the girls living at home, we’re urging everyone to go, the date has been set for a while and with very little happening sporting wise in January I think people are mad for a match, we’re hoping that everyone that can travel will travel, we’re really feeling the support from clubs within the county”.