Saturday 25 March 2017

Tubridy out to bunker Deise hopes in do-or-die clash

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

THE glorious seaside golf links at Doonbeg offers sanctuary and peace when 10-handicap David Tubridy wants to get away from it all -- but on Sunday there will be no hiding place at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, for the Clare footballers.

Resurgent Waterford await the visitors from the Banner County in a Division 4 clash that will decide the promotion issues involving these two counties.

And that's where Tubridy, voted Vodafone GAA Footballer of the Month for March, comes in.

The 22-year-old from Doonbeg is scoring for fun and will hope he can remain in sharpshooter mode one more time. Both sets of footballers suffer from their code playing second fiddle to hurling in their respective counties, so a rare prospect of success is to be savoured.

Clare and Waterford are bracketed together at the top of the table, each on 12 points from seven matches. A slip by Clare in losing by a point to Limerick last week gives Limerick, on 11 points, a chance of promotion as well, so the stakes could not be higher.

Quiet-spoken Tubridy summed it up in stark terms: "It's a big game. Our whole year to date comes down to this game really.

"If we lose, our good work done so far would be gone down the drain, so it's do or die. It's very tight between the three teams. We hope that defeat to Limerick doesn't come back to haunt us.

"I had a chance to get a draw with the last kick of the game. It was a free from around the '45' but it just tailed a bit to the right.

"But winning six from six before that game was a great buzz, compared to last year when it was just defeat after defeat.

"It's great to be in the top half of the table this year so we don't want to let it slip now," he added.

"The difference this year compared to last year is belief. With Kilmurry getting to the club final it showed that Clare clubs can play against the best teams."

Clare boss Micheal McDermott had much to do with Kilmurry-Ibrickane's success and mapped out a plan of priorities for the county footballers.

"As Micheal McDermott said at the start of the year, we have two phases: phase one is the league and concentrating on getting out of Division 4; and phase two is the championship."

If Clare and Waterford keep Limerick out of the shake-up, they would play in the Division 4 final on April 24, followed by a Munster championship clash on May 23.

"This could be the first of three games with Waterford, all in just over a month. Playing now, you're fairly showing your hand before the championship, but what can you do?

"Every team wants to get out of Division 4. Look at Tipperary and Antrim, they've gone up and done well. Limerick and Antrim were in provincial finals last year. That shows it's a competitive league and it's hard to get out of it, but hopefully we can do that."

Irish Independent

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