There are some posts that come more from the heart than others and I can tell you that this one is driven by some of the most intense feelings I know.
Today, we have the replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final with Co. Clare battling it out against Co. Cork. My father was a Clareman, through and through, and used all sorts of expressions like One of our own and God’s own County when talking about Clare people and the county itself. It was like oceans of Clare blood ran through his veins and he certainly passed on that great love to us kids, through sharing memories of growing up in Co. Clare and building up a great collection of photographs of his beloved and stunningly beautiful county over the years.
He never tired of telling me how Clare was pretty much divided, unlike Co. Kilkenny, in terms of hurling and football with hurling very much associated with the East Clare and football with West Clare which was his place.
His younger brother, Michael, won an All-Ireland Football Medal with Co. Cork, of all places, playing alongside Jack Lynch, in 1945. But, it was hurling that captivated Dad, the sheer skill, pace, excitement of the game and, of course, the dream of seeing All-Ireland Glory in his lifetime.
He was there in Croke Park to witness Co. Clare win that amazing All-Ireland in 1995 and like so many of his era, it was undoubtedly his greatest sporting moment. All talk of East and West Clare evaporated when it came to Championship Hurling and its waving flags of blue and saffron.
So, as the game gets underway this afternoon, I’ll be screaming for mighty Clare, managed by that man of passion, Davy Fitz. It’s on days like this that I’m both proud to be Irish but also forever grateful to have had a father who loved sport, shared that love, and taught me the meaning of the term Pride of Place.
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