*Éire Óg’s David Reidy. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
DAVID REIDY has been playing senior hurling with Éire Óg for eleven years and is relishing the opportunity to end a 32 year famine for the club this Sunday.
Winner of there All Ireland U21 titles plus several years playing for the county senior side under three different managements, Reidy has more experience that the vast majority of his Éire Óg teammates when it comes to big days on the hurling stage.
Last year, he lined out at centre forward on the Éire Óg football side managed by Paul Madden who were crowned county champions. He feels that county final winning experience is a huge factor this year. “Loads of lads played in last year’s football decider, we might not have Ballyea’s hurling finals experience but we are not lacking in county final experience and that’s a huge plus for us. We know the preparation that went into last year’s day, what worked, what might need a tweak here or there so that will stand to us because you just can’t buy experience. It’s a massive part of being successful. Our preparation will be A1 because that’s how Mattie and the management team work. They will consult with Paul Madden and we will work from there”.
He doesn’t believe the sense of occasion will affect some of the Ennis players. “We will definitely enjoy the build-up, the fanfare, the flags and everything else that goes with it. You’d be crazy not to enjoy it but we have done it last year as I’ve said and we have loads of inter-county players in both codes who have played on the biggest stages in the biggest of games. Mattie does huge work to get us right for each day we go out. He always does his best for us and it’s a credit to him”.
When discussing the semi-final extra time win over Sixmilebridge and his undoubted man of the match performance, he references all of his team mates but a special mention goes to Shane O’Donnell. “I was lucky enough that things went well for me on the day but I knew I had to step up. Shane has been doing it for us for what seems like forever. He is remarkable. But we will need others to stand up on Sunday and there’s plenty of candidates in this group. We have a lot of quality hurlers and more importantly they are quality people. We’ve been to the knockout stages plenty of times and we failed to get the job done be it our own fault or just a lack of luck at key moments but again I have to credit Mattie here. He always keeps us going, keeps us motivated, he has taught us about having a positive attitude. Yes there will always be setbacks but our attitude will always be positive”.
On the opposition, David says there is great comraderie and banter but he will be focused on the job in hand come throw in. “Ballyea are a serious team, top players and we know them so well. We’ve played together on development squads, for Flannans and for Clare. We respect each other and we have great banter. Shur Jack Browne is living in my estate so he’s basically a townie now,” he laughs.
“We are neighbouring parishes, there is huge rivalry but we must embrace that, enjoy it for what it is, but remember it’s just sport. Yes we will do everything to win come Sunday and we have to relish that county final day. We will always remember it but as recent events have shown there is more to life”.
David also feels that the mantra of a rising tide lifting all boats can most certainly be applied to Éire Óg. “Last season’s success has lit a spark in everyone, the club are enjoying every competition. The Junior A team were in the county final, the footballers are at the business end and now finally after what seems a lifetime the senior hurlers are in the county final and I can’t wait for the throw in. It’s been too long for our club. We have to take this opportunity”.