*Sixmilebridge joint captains, Shane Golden & Derek Fahy. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
For Sixmilebridge goalkeeper Derek Fahy, the team’s joint captain, Sunday’s championship victory was “a very proud moment”.
“I am absolutely delighted. It’s no secret that we struggled to win back to back titles. We didn’t seem to have the same drive as the years we had won. Its a very proud occasion for all of us and for our families”, he said after he and Shane Golden had accepted the Canon Hamilton trophy from Clare GAA chairman Joe Cooney on Sunday evening.
He believed their final win over O’Callaghans Mills was aided by a strong start. “We always aim to get a good start and today was the first time that we did that in this campaign and we got a lead of a few points. That was massive as it put doubts in their heads from the start and we kept the scoreboard ticking over”.
Fahy admitted that he was “a little worried” early in the second half when O’Callaghans Mills hit three unanswered points. “We did panic a little for five to ten minutes as a few things didn’t go our way. If they had tacked on a few frees it would have brought the game a little closer but we remained calm and we responded well. We got a few vital scores, Cathal Malone popped up and Alex Morey got a free”.
“We didn’t panic, we just stuck to the plan. If they had got closer maybe they would have got more confident like they did against Ballyea in the semi-final. We were determined to stay in front. They had beaten Inagh-Kilnamona and Ballyea, fine strong teams that many had fancied to be in the final. Luckily we got over that ten minutes and built on that”.
As the eldest member of the Bridge panel, Derek reflected on the work done in previous years to foster their success. “I am hurling senior for thirteen years and this is the first time we have retained the title. It took a long time to achieve that.
“Thirteen years involved in senior hurling and I am glad to be a winning captain with Shane Golden. Its great for our families. When I started out I didn’t think that I would be hurling thirteen years on., I never thought I would be a captain. I am the oldest in the team and this is a special day. I am delighted with that. I am looking forward to next year already. The three in a row is something to think about”, he agreed.
A member of Clare’s All-Ireland winning panel in 2013, Fahy believed Sixmilebridge were in a strong position for the future. “There are some great underage teams in the club. We are just after winning the under 14 title. There are great facilities there. Every kid in the parish wants to play hurling for Sixmilebridge”.