All-conquering Cratloe complete historic Clare double
Hurling All Star Podge Collins inspirational as champions retain football crown
Cratloe’s brothers David, Padraic and Sean Collins celebrate with the Clare senior football championship trophy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.
Cratloe 2-12, Éire Óg 0-11: In a way this is your typical GAA success story, a father and his sons combining for county final glory. That’s nothing new with the Collins brothers and their father Colm as they have enjoyed great success in recent years – but they took it to a new level.
This thoroughly deserved Clare SFC final success not only saw them retain the football title they won for the first time last year but now they are the first team in Clare in 100 years to win both senior hurling and football titles in the same season.
And while sons Podge and Sean will not be playing for the Clare hurlers next year, father Colm says the dual players in Cratloe will have no difficulty competing in two Munster club championships in the coming months.
“It is not a problem. There is mutual respect between the codes in our club and there is never an issue and there is a lot of credit due to the bedrock of the club.
“We train for hurling one week and we train for football the next week depending on what match is on and there’s never any bickering and long may it continue. Everyone is playing for Cratloe, we are all pulling the same way so it is very easy when that’s happening,” he said.
Son Podge produced a man of the match display yesterday, shooting 1-4 from play and tormenting an Éire Óg defence from start to finish. They won their first Clare football title last year and Collins said it is a glory period to be enjoyed.
The game was over as a contest inside 15 minutes, first when Podge Collins picked out another All-Ireland winning hurler Conor McGrath with a sublime pass from a free for the opening goal after eight minutes. Seven minutes later Podge danced around two defenders and drilled home the second goal.
“The two early goals probably killed the game as they found it hard to get up the field in the second half and get scores,” added Collins.
Éire Óg, bidding for first crown since 2006 and whose predecessors Ennis Dals were the last to do the double on the field a century ago, battled back with Darren O’Neill and Sean Corry doing well in midfield.
Two excellent points from Davy O’Halloran and one from Stephen Hickey, along with three frees from Sean O’Meara saw them outscore the champions by 0-6 to 0-1 but Liam Markham grabbed his second point to leave Cratloe ahead by 2-6 to 0-8 at the interval.
Éire Óg, who lost corner-back Saran Butler to a black card before the break, found scores had to come by in the second half as Cratloe kept up a high tempo.
Cratloe only managed one further point until four minutes from the end but by then the celebrations were starting.Another All-Ireland-winning hurler Cathal McInerney helped himself to four points on a great day for a remarkable club.
“We have a dedicated group of lads and all they want to do is be successful,” said a jubilant Podge Collins.