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'Style and sportsmanship' is the focus for Clare U21s

Updated: Saturday, 14 Sep 2013 17:55 | Comments

Clare captain Paul Flanagan faces the crowd after Clare won the Munster U21 title
Clare captain Paul Flanagan faces the crowd after Clare won the Munster U21 title

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Clare’s style and sportsmanship are standout features for their Under-21 co-manager Donal Moloney ahead of the final meeting with Antrim in Semple Stadium on Saturday.

The Banner are preparing for two finals in the remainder of this month, starting with the under-age clash with underdogs Antrim and many of the panel from that game will be involved in the senior replay with Cork on 28 September in Croke Park.

Ahead of the pivotal moments in Clare’s memorable season, Moloney revealed that a minimum of one title is not required to define the year. 

He told RTÉ Sport: “I don't think it is about silverware. Back in the middle of July, starting into the Under-21 campaign, we spoke about 2013 being a year to remember forever.

“Lots of things can drive memories and one of the critical things in all of that is how the team actually perform and how the team actually play.

“It is the spirit and the philosophy that they use on the field.

“They have been true to that whether it is the seniors or Under-21s. The style and sportsmanship is what differentiates this year from others for us. If there is some silverware for us great, if not, best of luck to whoever beats us.

“Every manager at an club or any county in Ireland will say their players are unique and rightfully so. Every manager and leader is proud of their players. We have been exceptionally proud of these guys. We have had a lot of them since 2009, some of them from 2010.

“Through that period of time they have embarked on a very, very different type of training than we would have previously carried out. They have embraced a new philosophy into how to play the game. A lot of it was a leap of faith.

“They have embraced it and excelled at it. From that perspective we're delighted with them.”

“We planned how we would handled things and get guys back up if they lost and how we would handle it if they won. We had not thought about a draw”. - Donal Moloney

The final with Antrim is a unique clash with the Banner overwhelming favourites to emerge victorious this weekend.

One concern for Clare in the senior replay looming in just over two weeks and Moloney admitted plans were in place for a reaction to the original final, but a draw had not come into their thinking.

He said it will not prove a distraction for the players.

“It is a very novel pairing. I don't think anyone would have envisaged at the start of the year that Clare would be playing Antrim in the All-Ireland final. Both sides are there on merit.

“One of the sporting shocks and highlights of the year was Antrim turning over Wexford in the All-Ireland semi-final. It was something that nobody expected. It was the first time it has ever happened and full credit to them.

“The players would be training in the exact same fashion and the exact same approach if there wasn’t a senior final. Paul Kinnerick, our coach and trainer, works between both panels.

“He is part of Davy's team and our team and he has also worked with these players over the last four years. There are no surprises in the training methods and the training approach.

“The whole philosophy is largely the same. For a lot of these players, the only difference is there is different guys around them each week.

“We probably thought of most eventualities in the senior final except a draw. We planned how we would handled things and get guys back up if they lost and how we would handle it if they won.

“We had not thought about a draw.”

Clare: R Taaffe, P Flanagan, D McInerney, J Browne, S Morey, A O'Neill, S O'Halloran, C Galvin, T Kelly, P Duggan, P Collins, C Malone, C O'Connell, S O'Donnell, D O'Halloran.

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