*John Conneally manages to make a handpass among a sea of Scariff players. Photograph: Ruth Griffin
WITH SIX CHAMPIONSHIP DEBUTANTS featuring for Clooney/Quin, it topped off an impressive start to the Clare SHC.
By Derek Dormer
2017 finalists Clooney/Quin are now a much changed outfit and still had enough to overcome Scariff on Saturday evening in a rain-sodded Sixmilebridge, running out victors on a score of 1-16 0-13.
Tommy Corbett outlined that the clash with Scariff was one they had earmarked as a winnable game prior to their upcoming clashes with Kilmaley and Éire Óg. “We’ve been targeting this game ever since the draw was made. We knew it would be a huge game and I’m just over the moon we got the result. We had two approaches today, going short into the elements and direct with the wind and both paid dividends”.
The former Clare hurler acknowledged the contributions of both their experienced players and the newer faces. “Our big players stood up when it mattered. Peter and Ryan were sensational while Keith Hogan who is a terrific bloke always first at training and last to leave pulled off some great saves especially the penalty save, that was top class. We have Kilmaley next and they gave us a lesson in the Clare Cup but that’s phoney war stuff. Today I’m absolutely thrilled, we had six championship debutants and I’m so proud of all of them”.
His Scariff counterpart, Mark McKenna was unsurprisingly less upbeat. “I’m very very disappointed to be honest. We were in this position last year too losing our first game and it puts you on the back foot. We felt we had improved from last year, we trained hard all year and in fairness we worked hard all day today but we just fell short. We kept battling, our heads never dropped, we forced their keeper into making saves”.
McKenna who was manager when Scariff claimed the Paddy Browne Cup in 2020 believed they did have a legitimate penalty not awarded but said they must now regroup for their meeting with Matt Shannon’s Éire Óg. “We probably should have had another penalty but those are the breaks. Officials have a tough job and you have to respect that. It doesn’t get any easier as we have Éire Óg next and it’s a big task. We have to try stay in this championship”.