Although Clare controlled matters for the bulk of their seven point win over Wexford, Podge Collins always expected a big fightback was going to materialise and it did in the final quarter.
Cratloe’s Collins finished the game with three points to his name as he continues to lock down a starting position this year. Speaking after the game, he hailed the impact of the players that came on from the bench, a role he had to settle with for the bulk of the league and their opening Munster championship games.
“Wexford have a lot of players that everyone in the country knows about and we dominated the first half for the most spell so we knew they were going to have a purple patch. In this championship, no matter what team is on top the other team usually does have a purple patch and Wexford came into it really well in the second half and thankfully we popped up with some vital scores at the end, the fresh legs of Ian Galvin, David Fitzgerald and Conor McGrath really made a difference and helped us get over the line, delighted to win it”.
For the first time in five years Clare have reached Croke Park and the All-Ireland semi-finals. Reflecting on their year thus far, Podge feels only their second half against Cork diminishes for him what has been a largely successful campaign. “All year it’s been about winning the next game and the Munster championship was always going to be difficult and it went well apart from a very disappointing second half to Cork it’s been a good year and hopefully we keep onwards and upwards”.
*Photograph: Martin Connolly