*Sixmilebridge’s Shane Golden. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Sixmilebridge are anxious to get rid of what they call “the second year jinx”.
Champions in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, there is disappointment at the fact that they failed to retain the Canon Hamilton trophy after any of those successes.
“This year has been different”, joint captain Shane Golden maintained. “The fact that we didn’t play too many games, we had that bit of freshness. We were mentally and physically fresher because the competition has been run off over a shorter period of time which allowed us to focus and that suited better. It’s great to be back in the final and we are hoping to make the most of the opportunity”.
A member of the county senior panel, Shane brushed away commentary over Sixmilebridge’s inability to score a goal en route to the final. “It doesn’t bother us too much, we are winning and we probably have scored a lot of points. There are times when it can be a little annoying as we get a big of slagging from the backs but the main thing is that we are winning. It would ease the pressure if we got a few goals but, as I’ve said, we have got through to this stage”.
Operating between midfield and attack at club level this season, Shane admitted that this year’s championship has been bizarre. “It’s been a strange sort of preparation. Everything up to game day is the same as normal but game day is quite strange. You are togging out in the car and lads are spread out. It’s not the usual routine where we would be in the dressing room forty five minutes before a game. However, once you get inside the gates at Cusack Park, you are in championship mode and one doesn’t pay too much attention to anything after that. Yes, it’s been a strange year but we have come this far and we are very happy to be heading into the final on Sunday”.
“It’s been very noticeable playing to empty stadiums, especially when games are tight. We have definitely been able to hear the subs and the backroom team as they have been more vocal. It would have been nice to have had a few more in attendance but that’s the way things are at this time and clubs have to work with that”.
The Sixmilebridge joint captain is adamant that “the Mills have quality and we are not in any way under estimating them. Look at the teams they have beaten. They will be coming into this final as underdogs but a lot of neutrals will be supporting them. We don’t see them as underdogs. They have a lot of talent and a good blend”.
He continued, “Two years ago they lost to Ballyea in the semi-final. We haven’t played them in a while but when we met, the games have been close. This year they have been very impressive. They beat a good Broadford team and then went on to beat Inagh-Kilnamona and Ballyea, two of the fancied teams for honours this season. It would be foolish to take a team lightly just because they haven’t won the title for some time”.
With COVID-19 cases rising, the physiotherapist is anxious that all involved with Sunday’s county final make the most of the occasion. “For the vast majority of lads, this is it for 2020. Even things are looking dodgy for inter county. In terms of the club its the be all and end all. This is your county final, your Munster and All-Ireland rolled into one. This is the biggest prize”.